How to choose the right opportunity

An opportunity is an action or activity that, from the customer's point of view, can help improve the product. It can be defined positively (for example, "I just want to find the closest physical store") or negatively (for example, "I don't want to be delayed by filling out the administration") and includes the customer's problems, needs, wishes, or concerns.

Lucia Marcinková

UX Researcher

We can approach new opportunities in different ways (link). We then visualize them using the Opportunity Solution Tree method (see image below). Our goal when selecting opportunities is not to tackle every single one. On the contrary, we should only focus on those opportunities that support our product goal. Thanks to this, we will be able to support the business and the customer's needs. The opportunity we should pursue first is subject to a deeper analysis where we must determine which opportunity will most impact the product goal. This is exactly what we will focus on in this article.


Which opportunity to choose?

It is important to solve opportunities one by one – not solve several at once. This allows the product trio to test several solutions and make a good decision.

We should start by comparing the highest ranked opportunities with each other (always only within the same level of the hierarchical structure). It is best to use these four factors:

  1. Measuring the opportunity → how many customers are affected and how often? The aim is not to have a completely detailed comparison but rather to find out which of the similar opportunities most often affects the most customers.
  2. Market factors → how does the given opportunity affect our market position? Some of these may be common ground (at least from the customer's point of view), while others will provide us with a strategic advantage. Neither is a decisive factor; it depends on our market position and preferences. In this part, it is also necessary to assess external factors influencing the given opportunity.
  3. Organizational factors → how does the given opportunity affect our company or team? The goal is to select opportunities that support our vision, mission, and strategic goals over those that do not (we do not want to encourage internal conflicts). This also applies to all subordinate or smaller parts of the organization. At the same time, assessing what specific advantages of our organization or team can help us in a specific opportunity (for example, compared to the competition) is good.
  4. Customer factors -> how important is the given opportunity to our customers? Some opportunities are more important to customers than others. The aim is to choose one that is very important to customers, but at the same time, they are not satisfied with the current solution.

After choosing one of the opportunities, we can completely ignore the others and their entire substructures. Instead, we will focus on the sub-opportunity that follows next in line. We will proceed in this way until we reach the lowest sub-opportunity in the entire structure, after which only solutions follow. This decision-making should always be supported by data but will still be subjective – it is therefore up to the team to work together to select the right opportunity.

However, it is important not to get lost in the search for data for every opportunity and to strive for perfection – only by making decisions and realizing their consequences will we be able to move forward. For example, Jeff Bezos divides decisions into two levels. First-level decisions are difficult to overturn, and we should exercise caution in implementing them. On the other hand, second-level decisions are easy to reverse, so we should not wait for perfect data. When choosing opportunities, it is always a second-level decision (if we have determined them correctly) – we spend a maximum of a few days or weeks on them, not months and years. Simply put, we dive more into the process of continuous discovery. When we discover we made a mistake or the given opportunity does not suit us for a certain reason, we can choose another.

The most common mistakes when choosing opportunities:

  • postponing decisions until we have more data,
  • overreliance on some factors at the expense of others (for example, relying only on customer factors but ignoring company factors),
  • working backward from the expected conclusion (it is not appropriate to have a preconceived conclusion in mind; it closes our mind and we overlook other possible paths).

This process is followed by the creation of solutions and their testing. We will look at this in detail in one of our following articles.


  • Teresa Torres – Continuous Discovery Habits

userUP helps you with

About the author

Lucia Marcinková

UX Researcher

Lucia conducts user research for better understanding of users' needs and pains.

Related articles

It has happened to you that you are creating new functionality, or just the whole product, and…

Assumptions – "I would do as a user"…

When we create a new product in the digital environment, the words research and usability testing…

How to start user research in a company

An in-depth interview is primarily used for a more detailed examination of a research problem…

How to conduct an in-depth interview