opportunity-scoring

Opportunity Scoring And Why It Matters In Business

Opportunity scoring is a product feature prioritization framework. It asks customers to identify features they deem important but that are otherwise underdeveloped or disappointing. Opportunity scoring is derived from the outcome-driven innovation (ODI) strategy developed by Tony Ulwick in the 1990s. It is a user-centric process that gives product teams direct access to customers and their associated needs and wants. 

Understanding opportunity scoring

Opportunity scoring is closely related to the Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) methodology, also one of Ulwick’s creations. With respect to JTBD, the key to maximum product value is determining the goals and desired outcomes of the user. In other words, what job does the product empower a user to complete?

Given the similarity of both approaches, it’s useful to think of opportunity scoring as an additional layer of JTBD. Customers are asked to identify important product features they feel are underdeveloped or indeed absent entirely. This removes the guesswork out of product design, shifting the focus from theory-based to practical-based product development.

Opportunity scoring differs from other product prioritization approaches such as the Value vs. Complexity analysis. Instead, think of opportunity scoring as an importance-versus-satisfaction analysis that seeks to make product innovation more predictable.

Conducting opportunity scoring

To conduct an opportunity scoring analysis, businesses must follow these steps:

1 – Create lists

Begin by creating a list of product features and the associated results (outcomes) of each feature.

2 – Survey customers with a scoring system

Then, survey a group of customers by asking them two questions:

  • How important is this feature or outcome to you?
  • How satisfied are you with how the product delivers this feature or outcome?

Both questions are rated on a scale of 1-5, where 1 denotes low importance/satisfaction and 5 denotes high importance/satisfaction.

3 – Analyse the results

Any features receiving a high importance rating coupled with a low satisfaction level should be investigated further. These will likely yield a significant ROI for the business but in any case, product teams must also consider the associated costs of seizing such an opportunity.

Features deemed low importance and low satisfaction can be ignored or removed altogether. This frees up resources to enhance other product features.

4 – Further detailed analysis (optional)

When scoring product features, opportunity scoring gives importance and satisfaction equal weight. However, some product teams may choose to borrow concepts from Ulwick’s ODI methodology. In this case, the value of user importance is doubled in relation to satisfaction

With an emphasis on gauging the outcomes customers value most, a thorough understanding of their goals and motivations is crucial. Again, the features or outcomes most suited to innovation are those that have high importance values coupled with low satisfaction values. 

Key takeaways:

  • Opportunity scoring is a product prioritization framework. It asks customers to score features based on their relative importance and how satisfied they are with each.
  • Opportunity scoring is closely related to the Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) methodology, which has a focus on understanding the goals and desired outcomes of the end user.
  • Opportunity scoring is an importance-versus-satisfaction analysis that seeks to make innovation more predictable. Product teams can deepen the analysis by giving importance values double weight.

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