IAF Methods

Opportunity Consensus Statement OD4

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3 - 6 25 - 35

Defining an opportunigy:  part of the Opportunity Development series of workshops

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To define what the opportunity is and is not and is a clear statement of the full life cycle of the project. It is the basis of the whole cycle of the workshop series and to gain agreement about what specifically the project is and is not.


You will be able to upload attachments once after you create the method.


  • Flip charts
  • markers and sheets of note paper.



Number of participants: 25 - 35

Types of participants: Representatives from all the various discipline that are involved in the whole life cycle of the project.

Time needed: 3 - 6 min.

Pre-Work Required: A discussion with the opportunity manager about what role they will play in the workshop

Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: any

Facilitator personality fit: any

Level of Difficulty to Facilitate (to be deleted during review): Facilitation skills required



1. Over the next hour or so we are going to create what is called an opportunity statement. This will be our definition of the opportunity we are working on.

2. What are the characteristics of a good opportunity statement? They are:
a. It is clear and concise statement to anyone who might read it.
b. Everyone in the project team understands it and is motivated by it.
c. It can be used for communications purposes to management and to internal stakeholders.
d. It is shared with management to see if it is in line with what management understands the opportunity to be.
e. It is broad enough to allow a number of creative alternative approaches to be explored and is not too narrow to allow only one specific approach to be driven without other approaches to be explored.
f. It focuses on a single opportunity and not several possibilities.
g. For older projects there may be existing opportunity statements. If so then they should be shared and a discussion held to confirm it.


1. The facilitator may present a draft opportunity statement that was developed by the management or the champion of the project.

2. Take out two sheets of paper. At the top of one put the word Verbs and at the top of the other put the word Nouns. Take the next 10 minutes to write down as many Nouns and Verbs that you consider important in describing the opportunity or that should be included in the opportunity statement.

3. While the group is doing this, take two flipcharts and put Verbs at the top of one and Nouns at the top of the other.

4. We want to go around the room and ask each of you to add to the lists we are creating. First we will do Verbs. Ask the first person to give you three Verbs. Repeat this until everyone has contributed. Capture them on the flipchart named Verbs.

5. Repeat this process with the Nouns.

6. I would like to have someone to propose a statement of the opportunity using the words we have listed. You don?t have to use all of them and you are not restricted to only these words but do just ignore them. Capture this on a flipchart.

7. Could someone just read the statement _____ just made?

8. What are some of the strengths in the statement?

9. What could be improved?

10. Other kinds of questions you can ask are:

a. What is the opportunity?

b. What are we doing?

c. What are we trying to do?

d. What will it bring to the company (organization)?

e. If you were stopped in the hall and asked what you were doing what would you say?

11. Can some one improve on this statement? Capture this one also.

12. Does this clearly and concisely describe the opportunity?

13. Is it broad enough for us to entertain a number of alternative approaches?

14. Continue this discussion until there is agreement.


Don't get stuck correcting minor phrases. If that starts to happen ask for a couple of volunteers to edit the text.


1. We will be able to review the Opportunity Consensus Statement at any time during the series of workshops or as the project progresses.

2. Go to the next workshop.


Follow-Up Required: The Stakeholder Mapping Workshops is next. The statement may need editing so make sure that it happens and copies are sent to the participants in the workshop.

Usual or Expected Outcomes: A consensus on statement defining the opportunity, wha it is and what it is not that can be shared with internal stakeholders.

Potential pitfalls: Fuzzy understanding of the scope of the project.

How success is evaluated: Consensus on statement


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