How to run Opportunity Solution Tree workshops?

6 practical tips

1. Start with the outcome

But seriously, start with it. I have seen quite many Opportunity Solution Trees disconnected from this first crucial element. So explain what your business goal is. What does it mean exactly? What is the context? Why is it important? How does it fit into a broader strategy? The team has to align on that.

2. Base opportunities on research

Opportunities are obstacles to achieving the outcome. Do not brainstorm them with the group — base them on research results, not on assumptions!

3. Try brainwriting

When ideating solutions, try brainwriting instead of a traditional brainstorm. During a spoken brainstorming session there is a risk that some people will dominate the group, ideas tend to be less specific and it is hard to achieve a deeper synergy.

4. Don’t lose sight of the outcome

When prioritizng solutions, remember to refer to the outcome! You are not choosing the most fancy ideas, but those that can help you make progress toward the goal.

5. Don’t skip the assumptions

Identify the assumptions behind the chosen solutions. You are not going to test the solution as a whole (unless it’s a quick fix). You want to validate ideas before building an MVP. So list all the things that have to be true for the solution to work. Consider it from different perspectives, like users’ needs, usability, technical feasibility, compliance and business strategy.

6. Take a broad approach to the experiments

When planning experiments, don’t focus only on A/B tests. There are many more methods to test various assumptions, for example surveys, fake door tests, usability tests, and even consultations with other departments.

OST workshops at AirHelp. Photo by Suvendu Pradhan

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