Frame your problem or idea with an Opportunity Canvas

When you as a product manager is working on a business problem there are so many factors to consider that it some times can be hard to get a holistic view of what the problem is, what solutions are out there and how its going to impact your business.

Jeff Patton has morphed the Business Model Canvas and the Lean Canvas into what he calls the Opportunity Canvas. The Opportunity Canvas is an awesome tool to facilitate a discussion about the problem or solution that you are working on.

It’s super simple to use; you start with the problem or solution and move on to field number 2 etc. If you started with the problem, the solution field is the last to be filled out, and if you started with the solution, you guessed right, the problem is the last to be filled out.

In Trustpilot, we use the Opportunity Canvas to facilitate discussions within our product teams, but we also use it when someone from the organisation or a client approaches us with an idea or a problem.

When it’s internal, the product manager will even fill out the Opportunity Canvas together with the colleague that originally brought up the idea or problem. This results in a better shared understanding, but it’s also an awesome way to make your co-worker feel heard and understood, which often is very hard in a product organisation.

How do you use the Opportunity Canvas in your team?

  1. Time-box the exercise, 1 hour maximum!
  2. Do it by hand. This is a framing tool, not a beauty contest.
  3. You might start with a user problem, or you might start a solution idea and work backwards to find the problem.
  4. Try to get specific about users and customers.
  5. Remember that business problems are not user problems!
  6. If you don’t know, make a guess and move on!

You can download and print the Opportunity Canvas from Jeff Pattons website right here.

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