Promise, Pain, Pressure

"Promise, pain, pressure" is an exercise that can be used to elicit from a team our group different perspectives on their product. First, ask about the product's promise(s) to its different audiences, users, or target personas: "The promise our product makes to our customers is to be laser-focused on ___."

Second, ask about the product's path to sustainable growth. Leave the question open-ended to gather ideas about everything from channels to customer segments to partnerships to business models: "Our product's path to sustainable growth hinges on our ability to ___."

Third, discuss competition—the pressure. This is trickier. Keep in mind that your competition may be the status quo. Fill in the blanks: "Compared to COMPETITOR, who we consider A LEGACY PLAYER / CURRENT COMPETITOR / ESTABLISHED FUTURE COMPETITOR / FUTURE DISRUPTOR we are HIGHLY DIFFERENTIATED / INCREMENTALLY BETTER / EQUAL / LAGGING when comes to our ability to SOME CAPABILITY. We must MAINTAIN POSITION / WORK TO IMPROVE / CAN LET IT SLIP." Note that if a team lists "need to improve" for everything, it's a signal of a lack of focus.



Cutler, John. “TBM 5/52: The Promise, The Path, The Pressure,” February 4, 2020.