Hypothesis Driven Development

An important tool for every Ideas Person. Hypothesis Driven Development is the difference between wandering and way-finding.

Light bulb moments. They happen all the time. You stumble into a pain point or discover a problem and think “Somebody should solve that…”. Then you realise that you should solve it.

What a good idea!

What happens next is critical to the success of your idea. You want a second opinion, so you:

A. Invite yourself to Mum’s for dinner, and ask what she thinks
B. Invite your mates to the pub, and get their opinions over a few beers
C. Hackathon! Work through the weekend, release, and hope it works.

Cue the Jeopardy music.

You guessed it. The correct answer is “D. None of the above”. Instead, trigger this thought when you have a light bulb moment:

A Good Idea is expressed as a Good Hypothesis

What’s Your Hypothesis?

Write down your idea, but write it in a format which reads If This, Then That, making it as clear as possible.

For example, if your idea was to create a streaming music service for classical music, you could start with:

If people could stream music from a service dedicated to the Classical genre, then they would choose this service over other streaming music providers.

That’s a solid start, but we can be even clearer:

If Classical music fans could stream high quality Classical music, from a service dedicated to the Classical genre, and in a player which can correctly handle Composers, Artists, Orchestras, Compilations, Classical Sub Genres, Composition Years, and other metadata quirks unique to Classical music, then they would choose this service over other streaming music providers like iTunes or Spotify.

This is Hypothesis Driven Development.

Once you have a hypothesis, you have something to test and validate.

Test Your Hypothesis

At this stage of the game, we should avoid gut decisions at all costs. You need data. You need cold, hard facts.

Hypothesis Driven Development helps you to collect the right information to make data driven decisions. You’ll find the right approach sooner, and you’ll be able to justify your decisions to investors and stakeholders.