All models are wrong, some make good stories

Tim Parsons
March 30, 2023

Conceptual product models can be useful tools for communication as well as planning. Models are essentially just a framework that we use to organise and make sense of information. Treating them as though they accurately and completely reflect reality is usually a mistake. They are a way to take complex information and break it down into something that is more manageable and easy to understand.

Without that framework in place it can be difficult to digest information, so establishing one up front can be a useful starting point fora pitch, or just a conversation.

Here are three models that founders can draw on to fuel their wider narrative:

The Fishbone Product Model

This model helps founders build a deep understanding of their users' problems and motivations. By diagramming out the various factors that contribute to a user's experience in what comes to resemble a fish bone shape, founders can identify key pain points, and map the specific ways in which they’re succeeding (or failing) to meet a user’s needs.

Drawing on this model, founders can paint a compelling picture of the problems their product or service is solving, and communicate a deep and considered understanding of their target market.

Swot Analysis

This model helps founders frame their company's positioning versus competitors. By analysing the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, founders can better understand their competitive advantage and how to communicate it.

Public Roadmap

A public roadmap is a transparency tool that helps founders communicate their development priorities to their users and stakeholders. By accurately reflecting the most pressing needs of your users, a public roadmap helps build trust and credibility. It's helpful to back up your prioritisation with both quantitative data points(e.g. 80% of users highlighted X as a top 3problem) and qualitative snippets (e.g. "One customer we spoke to told me X, which is really counterintuitive..."). By publishing a roadmap, founders can tell an inspiring story about their company that stretches into the future.

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