Create an Opportunity Definition
The biggest waste of all in product development is building something that absolutely no one wants. Eric Ries, author, Lean Startup
One of the key ideas of Lean manufacturing is to avoid waste. Spending more than a day completing a business document for an idea that won’t go forward is waste.
We get ideas from myriad sources: executives, sales people, and developers as well as competitive feature sets, analyst reports and customers. A market-driven product manager will likely have first-hand insights from customer requests and the results of customer interviews and observation.
Some of these ideas are important; some are not. That’s why many teams use a one-page definition document to profile the opportunity. What is it? Who is it for? What problem does it solve? How important is it for the organization’s future?
Nowadays we tend to favor a one-page product vision document over a comprehensive business case. Information in this document typically includes the market personas, problem to be solved (or “jobs to be done”), a value proposition, an opportunity score, the responsible product manager, and similar information.
An Opportunity definition & vision document can easily be printed from Under10 Playbook but perhaps your firm uses a Lean Product Canvas or a Business Model Canvas.
These one-page documents are summaries of research and conclusions without the supporting information. They should take no more than a day to be completed by one person.
These ideas are shared with company leadership—usually as part of a quarterly review—with the intention of getting buy-in to take the product idea to the next step: a completed business plan or business case. A full business planning document takes many days (or weeks) and involves getting assistance from other teams, notably finance, sales, marketing, and development.
Before you waste time on creating a planning document, use a one-page summary for your executives to approve. This authorizes the further use of your time as well as any relevant resources.