Using frameworks to help solve complex problems

Wasim Rajput
The Startup
Published in
5 min readJul 2, 2019



What is a framework?

A framework provides a high-level, yet a foundational structure for solving a particular type of problem. It can be considered as a model, which visually depicts the key building blocks of the problem being analyzed. Besides providing a structure, frameworks also provide a common vocabulary to solve the problem and include a narrative explaining the interaction of the various building blocks in terms of input and output, nature of the relationship between them, underlying assumptions, rules, etc.

For example, a Project Management (PM) framework can provide project managers with a structure to manage projects. A change management framework would depict a specific way to approach bringing change within an enterprise and managing it. A recruitment framework would show various aspects of the recruitment process. And so on.

Frameworks are also commonly used in technical domains. In the context of software platforms, for example, a framework refers to a programming environment that serves as a standard foundation for programmers to develop software. A software framework can provide predefined classes and libraries that programmers can use to develop software. This then enables the software to run on any such platform that supports that particular framework.

Below are some examples of various types of frameworks.

Adapted from NRC 2010 and Willows and Connell 2003
A construction project management framework

There have been many studies attempting to explain frameworks and how they can be instrumental in solving various types of problems. Miles and Huberman (1994) defined a conceptual framework as a visual or written product, one that:

…explains, either graphically or in narrative form, the main things to be studied — the key factors, concepts, or variables — and the presumed relationships among them” p. 18).

Others have emphasized that for a specific type of research, a framework shows a “map of the research” that one is…