The Lean Canvas Diagnostic: 3 - Identify Riskiest Assumptions
What most people get wrong
Prioritizing what’s riskiest versus easiest on the Lean Canvas is the next step in the diagnostic process.
This is the key step in getting a team to focus on “right action, right time” — the few key actions that help drive the biggest impact in their business model.
But while starting with what’s riskiest is a simple enough concept, too many advisers/coaches rush this step with costly ramifications.
Incorrect prioritization of risk is a recipe for wasting time, money, and effort on suboptimal actions. This depletes the already limited runway for finding product/market fit.
You can’t simply guess or “map and rank” a bunch of risks on a 2x2 matrix to surface the riskiest assumptions because:
Guessing at risk is highly subjective and prone to individual bias.
Voting on risks is prone to specialization bias — what’s risky to a developer differs from what’s risky to a marketer.
Even seasoned advisers often disagree on what’s riskiest.
Who do you listen to? The most vocal or most experienced aren’t guaranteed to be correct because startups are in the business of creating something new and a bit crazy.
Is there a better way?
The answer is yes... And it requires using a systems-based approach that doesn’t require any guessing — specifically applying the Theory of Constraints (TOC) to business models.
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