My product management toolkit (21): Assessing opportunities

1. Business Case

  • A familiar format for most stakeholders
  • Detailed breakdown of revenue & cost projections
  • Often based on lots of assumptions, which are then treated as gospel
  • Often out of date as soon we start building or launching a product

2. Opportunity Assessment

1. Exactly what problem will this solve? (value proposition)
2. For whom do we solve that problem? (target market)
3. How big is the opportunity? (market size)
4. What alternatives are out there? (competitive landscape)
5. Why are we best suited to pursue this? (our differentiator)
6. Why now? (market window)
7. How will we get this product to market? (go-to-market strategy)
8. How will we measure success/make money from this product? (metrics/revenue strategy)
9. What factors are critical to success? (solution requirements)
10. Given the above, what’s the recommendation? (go or no-go)

  • Less time consuming than business cases
  • More market, customer and problem centric, easy to translate into testable hypotheses
  • Outcome focused, establishing clear success factors early on
  • Unfamiliar format for some stakeholders
  • Less numbers centric than a business case

3. Auftragsklärung (Alignment Framework)

  • Helps to ‘take a step back’, honing in on fundamental questions
  • Facilities strategic thinking
  • Ongoing reference point for bigger opportunities
  • Outcome and metric focused
  • Unfamiliar format for some stakeholders
  • Risk of being too high level to base trade-off decisions on

4. Scoring

  • Encourages thinking about key considerations e.g. customer experience and operational necessity
  • Quantifiable and comparable results
  • Risk of people making up numbers to meet the criteria :)
  • Finger in the air and subjective
  • Harder if some of the weighting factors have not been fully defined

5. Change Types

  • Encourages thinking about business and customer impact
  • Easy to translate and communicate from a dual track roadmap point of view
  • Thinking beyond just the product or service
  • High level, harder to base trade-off decisions on
  • Open to subjective views on nature of change

6. Minimum Viable Product (‘MVP’)

  • Delivering value early
  • Early customer validation
  • Bringing riskiest assumptions forward
  • Increase speed to market
  • Misunderstanding of what an MVP is / isn’t
  • Open to abuse; misinterpreting “minimum” and “viable”
  • “When are you going to do everything else!?”

7. Calculating Cost of Delay

8. Calculating Return on Investment (‘ROI’)




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Product at Intercom, author of "My Product Management Toolkit" and “Managing Product = Managing Tension” — see