From that top-level node, the tree branches out to map all the different opportunities – which is a generalized term to represent both, the pains and gains of customers. Several layers of opportunities may be used in order to cluster related pains and gains.
Once these opportunities have been clarified, they are prioritized and only then starts the search for solutions to the most important opportunities.
For each potential solution, experiments are defined – in her book, Teresa actually called them assumptions which makes it more clear that these assumptions need to be validated before a solution can be implemented.
Here is the typical process for creating an Opportunity Solution Tree:
In reality, as often in Product Discovery, creating an OST is a continuous, non-linear process.
Furthermore, we haven often experienced situations where a solution would serve multiple opportunities, or where a low-level opportunity would support multiple higher-level goals. Hence, we would not be dogmatic and require an OST to be a real tree – when it could also be a directed graph.