3Q Notation


While I was working it became necessary to develop a document with strict definition of own project. However business plan format doesn’t match for such kind of solutions, because project is innovation and oriented on mass market or developing something new, so that doesn’t allow to make any forecasts. So I have made a task for myself: create a notation for describing innovative solutions. I could not find existing popular notations/services solving that task. There are lots of notations, methodologies, languages for example UML which allows to «draw» anything but I think it should be specific, laconic and modern service.

Creating base version wasn’t so hard because this method of describing business ideas is being used often by some entrepreneurs in high-tech. Below you can find the result of my work «3Q» notation (3 questions). I will often refer to this notation while working on project V, adding something new to it and I hope this solution will be useful not only for me but for other entrepreneurs.

The point

The point of current work with this notation is creating small document which consists of 6 sections:

  • project information
  • why?
  • how?
  • what?
  • conclusion
  • reviews

After you fill all sections you will get a laconic document which contains itself all required data for addressee to guess why what and how you are doing and become interested in your project as a result.

Why exactly 3 questions? This questions are base questions to build the core of conceptual design, it becomes a support and strategic asset for making a decision in the future. Answering these questions requires the same order. However often it happens conversely and it leads to losing reference points and time. First of all you find a reason for yourself, the problem you are going to solve to say more accurate. After that you decide how you can solve it. And the last question is what exactly you did for solving this problem.

Many people can find it obvious but I assure you that answering these questions(even if you do it for yourself) will help you to see the project concept more accurate and you will find controversial issues before you make irreversible decisions.

3Q document template is demonstrated below

There is a detailed description and manual for working with each section of the document.


This section is used to attach links, images, diagrams and other information which reinforces the importance and reliability of highlighted theses in other sections. Section «Attachments» allows shortly highlight the main moving details to another section. It is located on the left of other diagram columns from the top to «conclusion» paragraph. It’s being highlighted with default frame, referring to artifact of this section is recommended to do using dotted line. 


First and by my opinion most important question which must be answered thoughtfully. In this section you move closer to the issue which you are going to solve or to necessity of innovative solution. Artifacts should be displayed with hierarchy literally moving closer to the issue. Main reasons and problems should be highlighted(for example using filling) and arrows should be drawn from these artifacts to artifacts from next section.


This section is for deployment of your action plan. You should specify which actions you are going to do to solve the problems revealed in previous section. It is important to designate check points which will be used to indicate the progress of your project. It is very important to specify all links to different materials which will prove your your intention, it may be calculations or statistics.


In section «What?» it is required to specify what you have already did to complete your project herewith you should focus on section «How?» and in the case one of check points has been already reached you should specify that by generalizing artifacts with name or adding the label. Most popular answers in this section are: «The team has been assembled—> Prototype has been implemented». Of course you should add links which prove that information. In the case if you haven’t took action yet you should point what you are working on at the moment.


In this section you should analyze everything what you wrote above and make a conclusion if questions match each other, are there any contradictions, what are risks and anything which goes out of those 3 questions also should be specified.


This section is optional however it fits well in notation «philosophy» because document in 3Q notation is designed to be show to potential partners and before presentation it is advisable to show it to experts or authoritative specialists in your field. It can be a review or a recommendation what is highly appreciated in management groups.

Link to the project

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