Step 5. Review Certainty Matrix

1. Six Certainty Matrices

After your team completes its impact and certainty ratings, it reviews all assumptions in 6 Certainty Matrices.

This is the easiest of the 7 steps in the Minesweeper project de-risking process. You review 6 “Certainty Matrices” to ensure your team has properly positioned each assumption for impact and certainty. Just go to Minesweeper Step 5: Review Certainty Matrix, and you’ll see 6 tabs as shown below…

When you click a tab (“Desired Solutions” in this illustration), you’ll see ALL the assumptions in this grouping of assumptions. You may be wondering why there are 6 Certainty Matrices now, when you only had 3 colors of sticky notes in your original team brainstorming.

Part of the answer is that the blue Customer Outcomes are now separated into two groups: Required Customer Outcomes and Desired Customer Outcomes. The other explanation is that you have two concerns for any Customer Outcome: 1) How certain are you that customers want this outcome? 2) How certain are you that you can provide a solution to this outcome?

Three of these Matrices are “external”… Market Dynamics, Required Outcomes, and Desired Outcomes. You can’t control these: You just need to understand them. The other three are “internal”… Internal Capabilities, Required Solutions, and Desired Solutions. These are controllable by your company, at least to some extent. The 6 Certainty Matrices can be described as follows:

  1. Market Dynamics: These are external factors you don’t control, e.g. regulations, market trends & competitive landscape. These would apply for any company pursuing this opportunity.
  2. Required Outcomes: These are customer end-results that customers in this market now get and will want to continue getting. (Think of this as a “Must-Have.”)
  3. Desired Outcomes: These are customer end-results that you think customers in this market would like to see improved.
  4. Internal Capabilities: These are specific to you as a supplier, e.g. your research & development success, manufacturing capabilities, technical support, etc.
  5. Required Solutions: This is your ability to satisfy a Required Customer Outcome.
  6. Desired Solutions: This is your ability to satisfy a Required Customer Outcome.


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