Why opportunity assessment documents are considered sacred in our PM teams?

At TeamViewer, we try to avoid the use of the term ‘features’, and instead call them solutions that we are trying to solve for our customers. Our roadmap is actually a list customer problems we want to solve and not a feature list. This helps us prevent ourselves from slipping into a delivery mindset. We don’t want to be shipping a bunch of features every quarter or every year but solve a bunch of real customer problems and driving real value to them.

To force ourselves into that mindset we prepare an Opportunity Assessment document for every customer problem than we want to solve. The idea of opportunity assessment comes from Marty Cagan that answers the following ten questions:

Most organizations that I know of use some sort of a product canvas for assessing product opportunities. I have written another post elaborating on different product canvases available in the industry.

Even though product canvases are great for coming up with a new product idea, when it comes to building individual features, nothing beats the simplicity of opportunity assessment documents.

In our PM team, we have made slight alterations to Marty Cagan’s list of questions to suit our needs. For example, we have removed “Why Now (market window)” because it isn’t very crucial to have that information for most of our features. On the other hand, we added sections on technical complexity, and identifying probable solutions for the problem in hand. This helps us in deciding whether or not a certain solution is way too complex or risky to build. We also added a section on identifying “Prioritized Outcomes” for the solution. This helps us stay lean and prevent building a bloated solution for any problem.

The other recent addition we have brought in to our opportunity assessment is the value statement. This was inspired by the Amazon best practice of writing press release even before the first line of code is written. The value statement is actually a customer speak devoid of any internal or technical jargon. Here is an example of how Amazon writes a mock press release before it begins product development:

The Opportunity Assessment documents act as a great alignment tool for the entire organization and most of the other supplement documents like marketing collaterals and press releases take this as the source of the information later in the product lifecycle.

Please let me know what methods do you use to evaluate and assess product opportunities and ideas in your product teams.

The article in Medium: https://medium.com/@yoursproductly/why-opportunity-assessment-documents-are-considered-sacred-in-our-pm-teams-cc297488cc5d

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