This quadrant illustrates the solution space for software product development. Technological advances and knowledge sharing typically shift items from the bottom right quadrant, counter-clockwise to the top left one. You could imagine a novel risk scoring algorithm being developed in a manufacturing focused application, being shared at a conference, being repurposed in e-commerce and finally becoming an open source generic used across industries.

A product development team’s creative energy should be focus in the bottom right quadrant or simplifying the novel concepts for broader, more accessible use. The top left quadrant should be simple, drama free, and will consume the bulk of your development efforts. Because of this, don’t fall into the trap of taking a simple concept and reinventing it. It will drain precious energy from the bottom right.

Software requirements, requests or functionality should not be treated as uniform. Most organizations struggle bandwidth wise to get past prioritization and story points, in their framing of work. However, there should be more dimensionality to software work. Work originating in the each of the quadrants will flow differently.

Quadrant Notes:

Novel Secret Sauce

  • Unique value you are attempting to provide your customers
  • Highest impact, opportunity for wow factor
  • Generally the highest cost per item due to research and coordination costs

Table Stakes Quadrant

  • Foundational work
    • Security
    • Auditing
    • Enterprise Requirements - Shout out to
    • Report Generation
    • Data integrations
  • Least costly per item of functionality, highest volume of work
  • Leveraged correctly, you can avoid technical debt by bolting together known components in this zone
  • Low coordination costs


  • Highly leveraged use of unique value delivery that you are tweaking from another industry/application to work for your users


  • Due to the volume of table stakes work, your team might fall into the trap of reinventing the wheel here.
  • Be relentless in simplifying the work you do to avoid technical debt or added maintence that can be caused here.