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Continuous Design Using Hypothesis-Driven Development
Cowan, Alex Technical Note OM-1740 / Published April 13, 2023 / 19 pages.
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Product Overview

This technical note introduces readers to two important concepts involving design in the digital sphere: continuous design and hypothesis-driven design (HDD). Continuous design applies the proposition that rather than doing a large amount of design and research up front, a team is better off building smaller, specific items, testing them with users, and iteratively changing the design based on what it learns. HDD operates from the foundation that ideas should be testable and teams should work to minimize waste through small batch sizes and relevant evidence. HDD can help teams design better by helping them find the right problem and the right solution through two hypotheses: the persona hypothesis and the jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) hypothesis. Using these, teams ask, "Who is this for and what existing job (or problem, habit, or desire) does it deliver on?" Touching on Lean Startup, agile, and other influential bodies of work, this note walks readers through asking the right questions; designing experiments to test persona, demand, JTBD, and usability hypotheses; and creating user-focused stories. It is a helpful tool for any team that's innovating and wants to make astute decisions about where and how to invest its time and energy.




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  • Overview

    This technical note introduces readers to two important concepts involving design in the digital sphere: continuous design and hypothesis-driven design (HDD). Continuous design applies the proposition that rather than doing a large amount of design and research up front, a team is better off building smaller, specific items, testing them with users, and iteratively changing the design based on what it learns. HDD operates from the foundation that ideas should be testable and teams should work to minimize waste through small batch sizes and relevant evidence. HDD can help teams design better by helping them find the right problem and the right solution through two hypotheses: the persona hypothesis and the jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) hypothesis. Using these, teams ask, "Who is this for and what existing job (or problem, habit, or desire) does it deliver on?" Touching on Lean Startup, agile, and other influential bodies of work, this note walks readers through asking the right questions; designing experiments to test persona, demand, JTBD, and usability hypotheses; and creating user-focused stories. It is a helpful tool for any team that's innovating and wants to make astute decisions about where and how to invest its time and energy.

  • Learning Objectives