Disciplined Agile

Guideline: Validate Our Learnings

The only way to become awesome is to experiment with, and then adopt where appropriate, a new way of working (WoW). In the guided continuous improvement (GCI) workflow of Figure 1, after we experiment with a new way of working, we assess how well it worked, an approach called validated learning. Hopefully, we discover that the new WoW works for us in our context, but we may also discover that it doesn’t. Either way, we’ve validated what we’ve learned. Being willing and able to experiment is critical to our process-improvement efforts. Remember Mark Twain’s aphorism: “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.”

GCI Process

Figure 1. Running an experiment to evolve your WoW (click to enlarge).

Validated learning isn’t just for process improvement. We should also apply this strategy to the product/service (offering) that we are providing to our customers. We can build in thin slices, make changes available to our stakeholders, and then assess how well that change works in practice. We can do this through demoing our offering to our stakeholders or, better yet, releasing our changes to actual end users and measuring whether they benefited from these changes.