Opportunity Assessment – 10 Questions to Evaluate Proposed Features and Projects

You should vet proposed features of a product and, at a higher level, complete projects. A quick and light weight way of doing this is with the 10 questions of the Opportunity Assessment.

Marty Cagan of the Silicon Valley Product Group proposes an Opportunity Assessment to help quantify if a particular opportunity is worth pursuing. The Opportunity Assessment is quite light weight and only involves answering 10 questions. I’ve seen a couple of versions of the Opportunity Assessment questions, but the latest version has these questions:

  1. Exactly what problem will this solve? (value proposition) – also phrased as “why are we doing this?”
  2. For whom do we solve that problem? (target market/persona)
  3. How big is the opportunity? (market size)
  4. What alternatives are out there? (competitive landscape)
  5. Why we are 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) – also expressed as “what is the outcome we are hoping for?”
  9. What factors are critical to success? (solution requirements)
  10. Given the above, what’s the recommendation? (go or no-go)

A later SVPG post reminds us that three of the questions are most important on an opportunity assessment. I’ve highlighted these three. Answer those three even if you gloss over the rest.

The SVPG also has an example opportunity assessment for an Enhanced Video Support Project.

The assessment is useful at the Pre-Project stage to decide if the project should go ahead. During a project the assessment can help decide where to Reinforce Success. After the project, as part of the Post-project review, the original goals need to be revisited – did it bring the outcome desired?