Deciding what to work on

A framework for deciding what to work on. Sketch by Benjamin Gadbaw.

Many individuals, teams, and organizations decide what to work on based on passion. This framework suggests two more considerations to help you decide which product, feature, or service you should work on.


PASSION: Making a decision to focus on what you love doing, what you think is right, what your intuition tells you. This is your gut feeling.

ABILITY: Deciding to work on things you can do, rather than things you cannot due to lack of knowledge, skills, or tools.

NEED: Deciding what to do based on true human needs, real problems real people really care about.


ART: The combination of PASSION & ABILITY, working on something that nobody (necessarily) needs.

FANTASY: The combination of PASSION & NEED. That’s your flying car. Deciding to work on something you can’t really achieve.

WORK: The combination of ABILITY & NEED, working 9 to 5 on something you are not passionate about.

The golden triangle

The golden triangle is where PASSION, ABILITY, and NEED meet. PASSION is easy to figure out. You know what you love doing. ABILITY is also relatively straightforward. You know what you can’t do, right? The hard part is identifying true human needs. To make good decisions, one must derive those needs from deep data-informed human understanding.

The next time you decide what to work on, definitely consider your PASSION and ABILITY, yet this time add true, evidence-based human NEED into the mix.

This framework was developed by Benjamin Gadbaw and I.