What is the Opportunity Score?

Let's assume a programmer wants to develop an application and is faced with a decision: Should he create two separate apps for different operating systems, which takes a lot of time, or should he instead use software to develop a cross-platform app that only needs to be adapted in a few places for the different operating systems, which saves time? But does such software even exist and is it sophisticated enough? If not, this could be a promising way to create an innovative product that meets the needs of app developers and increases the competitiveness of one's own company. However, the question then arises as to whether it is advisable to get straight down to implementing the idea. In order to better make such entrepreneurial decisions, opportunity scoring can be used, which is explained in more detail in this article.
A pair of bowling shoes at a bowling alley.


Definition of opportunity scoring

Opportunity Scoring is a methodology that helps find features that satisfy users, assess market opportunities, set priorities and conduct competitive analysis. It is part of the Opportunity-Driven Innovation ODI framework. The basic idea is that customers pay for the fulfilment of their tasks. In other words: If a product or service helps to fulfil a task, the customers are willing to accept higher costs for it.
To apply this to the example, if there is a better way to create an app with cross-platform software that saves time and other resources, customers, in this case app developers, are more willing to pay for it.
This method is best used in conjunction with the "Jobs to be Done" model, which ODI's founder describes as "Jobs-As-Activities". The assumption is that a customer buys a product because they want to work with it. Consequently, efforts should focus on how a customer uses a product to improve it.
Jobs to be Done is therefore an innovative, customer-oriented way of thinking and working. Innovation is a process of developing solutions to unmet customer needs with the goal of creating a product that will succeed in the marketplace. Since customer needs are always at the centre, this model is customer-centric. 
However, the Job to be Done does not consist of one big task, but of many small ones that lead to a result. Because when an application is developed, there are many small tasks that lead to smaller results and finally to the overall result.
And these can be prioritised with the help of opportunity scoring.

The Opportunity Scoring Process

The Job to be Done is therefore divided into smaller steps with a series of results, also called outcome.
To stay with our example of app development: The development of an app requires many small steps, such as designing the user interface and writing the programme code. These steps aim to achieve certain outcomes. For example, design aims to present the user interface in a light or dark version, depending on the user's preferences. Programming is about designing the application to allow for individual settings.
To calculate the opportunity score for each outcome, data is collected from the client, usually through interviews. In these interviews, two aspects are asked: importance and satisfaction. For importance, the client is asked how important it is for them to achieve a certain outcome when the Job to be Done is completed. For satisfaction, the question is how satisfied the client is with the strategy used to achieve the desired outcome. Both values can be rated on a numerical scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 the highest.

Calculation of the opportunity score

From these scores, the percentage of respondents for both importance and satisfaction is calculated. Only those outcomes that were answered with 9 or 10, "satisfied" or "very satisfied" should be used. These percentages are then used in the formula for the Opportunity Score:
  • Opportunity Score = Importance + (Importance - Satisfaction).


For the evaluation, the use of a chart is ideal. It shows how well the customer needs are being met with the current solutions and enables the prioritisation of a strategy.
Representation of the Opportunity Score as a diagram.
Part of the chart shows that there is oversupply (overserved) in the market, suggesting that there is no opportunity for innovation except to bring a cheaper product to market. This area is shown in the top left corner of the chart. However, before we do this we should turn to the area that shows which needs are still underserved and where there is still plenty of room for innovation. This area is shown at the bottom right of the diagram. In the example, the client wants cross-platform software that meets the above criteria. If these are not yet fulfilled by other platforms, the company would have a chance to convince the customer. Therefore, it would be advantageous to invest in this area. 
However, the chart also shows the areas that can be described as basic needs. These are already well satisfied (appropriately served), but are still very important because they have to be met in order to remain competitive. This area is in the middle of the chart.
This way, you not only see which tasks need to be done and which do not. You can also compare two products with each other. Sometimes you are faced with the decision of whether you should realise product X or Y. If you calculate the opportunity score for both products, you can see which product has more potential for success and thus fulfils the customer's wishes better.
In summary, one can say that opportunity scoring shows which functions, tasks or results are particularly important and should be given special attention during development or revision. It is particularly important to always keep in mind that the primary goal is to pursue the user's goals, as you want to satisfy them. Through feedback, the development can be tailored precisely to the customer, which once again underlines the customer-centred way of thinking.


The application of the Opportunity Score seems complex. But learning about Opportunity-Driven Innovation and understanding how it relates to the Opportunity Score helps a company take a different approach to be particularly innovative in responding to the needs of the user and customer.  This allows the project manager to properly allocate resources to increase satisfaction, increase customer loyalty and attract new users. This increases the likelihood that the project will be completed successfully.

Opportunity Score - the IAPM logo
Author: IAPM internal
Keywords: Project management, Opportunity Score

The IAPM certification

The certification can be taken via a reputable online examination procedure. The costs are based on the gross domestic product of your country of origin.

From the IAPM Blog

Become a Network Official

Do you want to get involved in project management in your environment and contribute to the further development of project management? Then become active as an IAPM Network Official or as a Network Official of the IAPM Network University. 

For better readability, we usually only use the generic masculine form in our texts. Nevertheless, the expressions refer to members of all genders.