What Is Opportunity Scoring and How to Calculate It

What is Opportunity Scoring and How to Calculate it

Opportunity scoring is a vital tool in the product manager’s arsenal, serving to objectify the prioritization process.

The opportunity score is not a silver bullet, but it is a methodical way for product managers to sift through the noise and focus on what matters. By weighing the potential impact and ease of implementation, this technique converts strategic dilemmas into tangible data points. 

For those managing products, it’s a crucial practice to master. Amidst the myriad of features and projects clamoring for attention, opportunity scoring helps to clarify which ones hold real merit. 

This article is your guide to understanding and applying opportunity scoring, cutting through the complexity to ensure your next move is backed by solid data.

What is opportunity scoring?

Forget guesswork and gut feelings, opportunity scoring is how product managers separate the wheat from the chaff with precision. It’s a no-nonsense, numbers-driven approach that ranks the endless stream of potential product features by their projected impact versus the effort they demand.

Think of it as a pragmatic sieve, one that filters out less promising initiatives in favor of those with the greatest potential to boost user satisfaction and business outcomes. 

It’s not a gamble on what might work, but a calculated evaluation of what will work, assigning numerical value to potential features based on anticipated impact and required effort.

It is within this framework that Tony Ulwick’s influence is unmistakable. As the founder of Strategyn, Ulwick pioneered the Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI) strategy in the 1990s, which is the bedrock upon which the principles of opportunity scoring stand. His methodology shifted the focus from the product to the customer, turning attention to the outcomes that customers seek to achieve.

With Ulwick’s insights, opportunity scoring became a disciplined, rigorous approach, moving product development from a feature-centric to an outcome-centric model. This pivot is crucial in a landscape where product success is defined by the ability to meet customer needs precisely and consistently.

The ethos of opportunity scoring is to elevate decision-making beyond gut feelings, grounding it in a methodology that anticipates and quantifies. 

It’s about measuring potential against practicality, ensuring that every feature on the roadmap is not just a good idea but the right idea at the right time.

How do you calculate opportunity scoring?

Calculating opportunity scoring is a strategic exercise that aligns product development with user satisfaction. It’s a straightforward yet profound process that starts with surveying users to evaluate the importance and satisfaction of various features of a product.

Let’s apply this to a real-world example of developing a cryptocurrency app. 

Here, understanding user priorities is crucial for survival. 

Suppose the app has a feature that allows users to set up recurring cryptocurrency purchases. To assess this feature’s value, you would survey your target audience, asking them to rate its importance and their satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 5.

Imagine the scores come back with an average importance rating of 4.6, signifying a high demand for this feature. 

Satisfaction, on the other hand, sits at a middling 2.5, indicating users are not fully content with how the feature currently functions.

Using Ulwick’s ODI method, you would calculate the opportunity score as follows:

Opportunity score = Importance + max(Importance − Satisfaction , 0)

Plugging in the values:

Opportunity score = 4.6 + max(4.6−2.5,0) 

Opportunity score = 4.6 + 2.1

Opportunity score = 6.7

A score of 6.7 out of a maximum of 10 suggests a significant opportunity to improve user satisfaction. It signals to product managers that investing in the enhancement of this recurring purchase feature could yield a substantial return in terms of user satisfaction and, by extension, business value.

In our example of a cryptocurrency application, features tend to evolve as rapidly as market trends; thus, such clarity is invaluable. 

For instance, consider the feature that facilitates integration with popular exchanges — an aspect deemed essential by users, receiving an importance rating of 5. However, the current satisfaction level sits at 4, suggesting room for enhancement. 

By applying the opportunity scoring formula in Fibery, we calculate its score as 5 for importance plus the maximum of (5 for importance minus 4 for satisfaction) and 0, resulting in an opportunity score of 6.

Opportunity scoring as seen Fibery
Opportunity scoring as seen Fibery

The use of opportunity scoring in Fibery allows product teams to prioritize features that users deem important yet find lacking. Here, it’s about being selective to optimize user gratification and operational efficiency.

Einstein opportunity scoring

Salesforce’s Einstein opportunity scoring provides a predictive approach, employing AI to score sales opportunities. Although it’s tailored for sales, the predictive model inspires product managers to integrate similar AI-driven insights for product features.

Opportunity scoring matrix

The opportunity scoring matrix is a visual tool that helps plot features in a quadrant to easily identify which ones need attention based on their importance to users and current satisfaction levels. 

Created using MetaChart.com, edited by Author
Created using MetaChart.com, edited by Author

Referencing the example cryptocurrency application, the opportunity Scoring Matrix depicted above serves as a strategic map. It illuminates the features that are exceeding expectations as well as those with untapped potential, guiding where focus and improvements are most needed.

It complements the numerical scoring with a visual representation that can be particularly insightful during team discussions and strategy sessions.

The pros and cons of opportunity scoring

Opportunity scoring can generate actionable insights, guiding teams with its quantitative clarity – but it also casts shadows that require careful navigation.

Pros

1. Objective decision-making: The primary advantage of opportunity scoring is its ability to strip away bias and illuminate the path to objective decision-making. 

For a product manager juggling the development of a new feature while refining existing ones, opportunity scoring quantifies user demand and satisfaction, offering a numeric backbone to decisions. 

When stakeholders question the direction of product development, pointing to an opportunity score can often settle debates with definitive data.

2. Alignment with user needs and business objectives: Another strength of opportunity scoring is its knack for aligning product features with user needs and business objectives.

Consider a product manager at a fintech firm deliberating over the introduction of a new payment gateway. 

An opportunity score can underline the feature’s potential impact on the user experience and alignment with the company’s revenue goals, facilitating a strategic approach to product evolution.

Cons

1. Potential neglect of qualitative data: One downside to opportunity scoring is the potential for quantitative data to overshadow qualitative feedback. A PM might miss the nuances of user sentiment that aren’t easily captured in surveys. 

For example, a feature might score low on immediate satisfaction but have the potential for high long-term engagement, an aspect that pure numbers might not reveal.

2. Demands on resources: Furthermore, opportunity scoring can be demanding on resources, particularly for smaller teams. Conducting thorough user research and data analysis to arrive at an accurate opportunity score is a significant undertaking. 

For a startup product manager with a lean team, the time and effort spent on gathering and analyzing data might be better invested in agile development and iterative testing.

The PM’s hot take

Opportunity scoring is not only about the numbers; it’s also about the narrative the numbers tell us. It’s a tool, not a crystal ball. Rely on it, but never stop questioning the scores.

Conclusion

Here at Fibery, we see opportunity scoring as a strong beacon, but not the oracle. It’s a robust framework that quantifies user demands and business needs, guiding PMs to informed decisions. 

Yet, it’s not without its challenges, demanding balance with qualitative insights and resource awareness.

If you’re ready to prioritize with precision, embrace a tool that amplifies your product’s potential without dictating your process. 

Discover how Fibery’s flexible, no-code platform can transform your feedback into impactful features. Begin your journey to a more dynamic product management cycle and try Fibery for free until you love it.

Join us now and redefine the way you manage your product’s future: Start Your Free Trial.

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