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Problem-Opportunity Scoring Model

    Needs can come from different users of your product, or from different internal stakeholders who sometimes may conflict with each other. For example, one stakeholder may want you to incorporate in your product the ability to snap photos and post them on social media. Another stakeholder may want an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system that is able to understand human language and perform tasks as directed.

    As a Product Owner, you know that you will not be able to satisfy all of these needs at once. There are different ways to prioritize the needs and one that I like to use is the Problem-Opportunity Scoring Model. I like this model because it grounds the decision on a deeper understanding of the problem each stakeholder is trying to solve, providing for better context in making a decision.

    Start by understanding each need in detail, especially the problem that your user or stakeholder is trying to solve (I find it useful to write these as problem statements focusing on the context, the user, the problem, and the impact to the user). Then, define a few dimensions that make sense for you and that can help quantify each need. For example, you may consider the following dimensions:

    Severity = How severe is the problem when users experience it?

    Frequency = How frequently does the problem occur?

    Population size = Are there few or many people experiencing it?

    Value = What is the value to the customers and/or to the business if we solve this?

    Opportunity = Does solving this need create a greater opportunity for the business?

    Next, estimate these dimensions for each of the needs you have in your list. Assign a score of 1 to 10 to each dimension; 10 being the highest. Use relative estimation to compare different needs, and you do not need to use all of the values (e.g., different needs may score “2” for the same dimension).

    Once you have scored each need across the dimensions, you can add the values and rank the needs from highest to lowest. This gives you a sense of the priorities and which need to solve first.

    Problem-Opportunity Scoring Model