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How to Implement Hypothesis-Driven Development | ThoughtWorks

We believe <this capability>

What functionality we will develop to test our hypothesis? By defining a ‘test’ capability of the product or service that we are attempting to build, we identify the functionality and hypothesis we want to test.

Will result in <this outcome>

What is the expected outcome of our experiment? What is the specific result we expect to achieve by building the ‘test’ capability?

We will know we have succeeded when <we see a measurable signal>

What signals will indicate that the capability we have built is effective? What key metrics (qualitative or quantitative) we will measure to provide evidence that our experiment has succeeded and give us enough confidence to move to the next stage.

The threshold you use for statistically significance will depend on your understanding of the business and context you are operating within. Not every company has the user sample size of Amazon or Google to run statistically significant experiments in a short period of time. Limits and controls need to be defined by your organization to determine acceptable evidence thresholds that will allow the team to advance to the next step.

For example if you are building a rocket ship you may want your experiments to have a high threshold for statistical significance. If you are deciding between two different flows intended to help increase user sign up you may be happy to tolerate a lower significance threshold.

The final step is to clearly and visibly state any assumptions made about our hypothesis, to create a feedback loop for the team to provide further input, debate and understanding of the circumstance under which we are performing the test. Are they valid and make sense from a technical and business perspective?

Hypotheses when aligned to your MVP can provide a testing mechanism for your product or service vision. They can test the most uncertain areas of your product or service, in order to gain information and improve confidence.

Examples of Hypothesis-Driven Development user stories are;

Business story

We Believe That increasing the size of hotel images on the booking page

Will Result In improved customer engagement and conversion

We Will Know We Have Succeeded When we see a 5% increase in customers who review hotel images who then proceed to book in 48 hours.

It is imperative to have effective monitoring and evaluation tools in place when using an experimental approach to software development in order to measure the impact of our efforts and provide a feedback loop to the team. Otherwise we are essentially blind to the outcomes of our efforts.

In agile software development we define working software as the primary measure of progress.

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