We are increasingly shifting from projects centered on the demands of customers or users to projects focused on product hypotheses. There are several reasons for this.
On the one hand, we are expected to implement new functions within increasingly shorter deadlines. That’s because the competition is getting fiercer, and the world, thanks to modern technology, keeps speeding up and getting more complex.
On the other hand, having more diverse groups of users means facing more diverse needs. We are moving at full speed towards an entirely customizable world. And this creates an even greater demand for instantaneous product adjustments.
From demand to hypothesis
The evolution of software development processes has prompted a change of approach, with the old, documentation-heavy models failing to fit into the new reality. In their stead came methods of continuous development, based on the understanding that systems must constantly grow and change. And hypotheses have become handy tools that help conceptualize the objectives for such changes.
If “demands” require implementation, then “hypotheses,” above all, need to be tested. But before that, the hypotheses must be coherently articulated. Which is not always as easy as we would have wanted.
The importance of articulation
On the one hand, we are all free to articulate our hypotheses in any way we like. There are no rules or laws against any specific approach. Common sense suggests it would be better to word our hypotheses clearly, so that others, like our coworkers, can understand them. But here I recall the theory of inventive problem solving (TIPS), which puts a lot of emphasis on the aspect of goal-setting, because the impact of the final solution depends very heavily on having a coherently articulated goal.
We believe that the more coherent the hypothesis, the more fruitful testing it will be. Testing in this sense covers not just the verification of the actual hypothesis, but also any possible insights that may be gathered in the process. To structure and simplify the process of articulating your hypothesis, we have singled out the following questions, which you can answer sequentially.
The steps for filling out the Product Hypothesis Canvas
- We believe that…