Opportunity Solution Tree

Most of this link come from notes condensed from a Product Talk article. Link for the article can be found here.

Good product discovery requires discovering opportunities and discovering solutions.

The Power Of Mental Representations

To the novices the chessboard looked as if the board was set up at random. But to the grandmasters, they were able to understand what moves led to this position and were able to cycle through next moves and their potential outcomes. They were better able to predict which player might win the game.

The grandmasters relied on stronger mental representations of chess games to consider more possibilities.

Widen The Lens

Learn a simple way to widen your lens, to avoid fixating on a single solution.

I had never seen reframing taught so simply and so effectively.

Beginning With The End In Mind

Jonassen argues that ill-structured problems are problems that have many solutions. There are no right or wrong answers, only better or worse ones. The solver must start by defining the goal and constraints of the problem before exploring potential solutions.

The short of it is that the problem solver, in our case, the product manager (or even better, the product team), must start by framing the problem.

This is exactly what Bernie is doing with his powerful questions. He helped us uncover the implicit framing of the problem (feeling grounded in our community) behind our desired solution (buying a house).

By making the problem framing explicit, Bernie shows us how we can question it (reframing) and use it to generate alternative solutions (multitracking).


Link here

In Decisive (yup, I’m still writing about this great book), Dan and Chip Heath introduce the idea of multitracking, which means considering more than one idea at the same time. They compared companies that looked at ideas in sequence vs. those who evaluated a set of ideas all at the same time, and the ones who evaluated a set of ideas at the same time made better decisions.

When you evaluate a set of ideas, you get less attached to any one idea. You are able to compare and contrast the qualities of one idea against another. You are able to mix and match elements of each to generate even better ideas.

4 Common Gaps In Our Thinking

1. We don't examine our ideas before investing in them

You might answer the question, "What should we build next?" with an idea, "Let’s add a dislike button."

Some of us rush off and build that first idea or two. That’s akin to rushing off and buying a house before examining why we want one.

2. We don't consider enough ideas

Not enough ideas considered

Not enough ideas considered

3. We don't multitrack in a systematic way

Don't do this:

Wrong multitracking

Wrong multitracking

Do this:

Systematic multitracking

Systematic multitracking

4. Our solutions don't connect to an opportunity or our desired outcome at all



The Opportunity Solution Tree In Action

The tree

The tree

Building The Four Sections Of The OST

  1. Good product discovery starts with a clear outcome.
  2. Opportunities should emerge from generative research.
  3. Solutions can and should come from everywhere (as long as they are bounded by an opportunity).
  4. Experiment to evaluate and evolve your solutions.

Using Your OST To Guide Product Discovery

These are four times you should consider using an OST.

  1. Prioritising a full backlog
  2. Clear desired outcome but still struggling to prioritise backlog
  3. Fixating on one opportunity, one solution and one experiment at a time.
  4. Considering way too many opporunities, solutions and experiments at a time.

A Framework For Continuous Product Discovery

Don't think of this as a linear process. Each week you want to be doing some activities that support discoverin and refining solutions.