Designing Better Experiments

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Josh Billings (not Mark Twain).

The vast majority of software we develop is worthless – not because it was written poorly, but because we discover that nobody wants it. This can be heartbreaking and demotivating for the team that built it. It doesn’t help the organisation either: it wastes precious human capital; massive amounts of money; and (perhaps most valuable of all) lots of time.

Part of the problem is that we are prone to fooling ourselves about what we know. Nassim Taleb calls this “Epistemic Arrogance”. We are all susceptible to it because our brains work hard to confirm what we believe to be true. This gives us false confidence about what customers want and the value they will get from it – and we treat our assumptions as if they were fact.

We can’t just transfer the risk to a Product Owner or the HiPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion – they have the same challenge and need help to combat this too.

To succeed in Product Development we need to acknowledge uncertainty, adjust our approach and take a more experimental approach. Rather than diving head-first into unknown waters we need to reduce the risk by safely exploring the unknown terrain to discover a path to success.

This workshop will help you to better understand why an experimental approach is so critical in product development. It then focus on providing you with some useful tools and techniques for navigating and finding answers to key questions:

  • The Why: Do we have problem worth solving? Do people want it?
  • The What: What are the potential solutions to the problem? How do we develop something that people will love? How can we achieve the fabled “product-market-fit”?
  • The How: Having solved it, can we monetize it? How do we explore potential business models for providing the solution, timing and potential go-to-market strategy?

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Understand the complexity inherent in product development: Cynefin & Complexity, Double-loop Learning and Discovery
  2. Get an understanding of how our brains work when faced with uncertainty and why we fool ourselves to fall in love with our ideas.
  3. How we can hack our brains and surface our hidden assumptions about value.
  4. How to transform assumptions into hypothesis and design experiments to validate/invalidate assumptions.
  5. Experimental techniques that you can use to better understand the problem you are trying to solve (the why), potential ways to solve the problem (the what) and possible business models (the how)

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