Lean UX: Writing Hypothesis Statements

In Lean UX, the starting point is having a clearly written hypothesis statement. This gives your entire team a clear focus for their work. It keeps everyone aligned and sets the right constraints. In order to arrive to a well written hypothesis statement here are some of the steps:

  1. Declare Assumptions – A high-level declaration of what is believed to be true.
  2. Hypothesis – Specific descriptions of assumptions that target your product
  3. Outcomes – Metrics that can help validate your hypothesis. These can be both qualitative and quantitative
  4. Personas – Users for whom we are trying to solve the problem
  5. Features – The product changes or improvements that may solve our problem

First, based on specific user and business assumptions you want to write a problem statement using the follow template:

[Our service/product] was designed to achieve [these goals]. We have observed that the product/service isn’t meeting [these goals], which is causing [this adverse effect] to our business. How might we improve [service/product] so that our customers are more successful based [these measurable criteria]

Next, you want to come up with some user assumptions by asking the following questions along with your team:

  1. Who is the user?
  2. Where does our product fit in hi work or life?
  3. What problems does our product solve?
  4. When and how is our product used?
  5. What features are important?
  6. How should our product look and behave?

After stating the assumption for both your users and prioritizing them based on level of risk. The final step is to write a hypothesis statement using the following format:

We believe [this statement is true].

We will know we’re [right/wrong] when we see the following feedback from the market:

[qualitative feedback] and/or [quantitative feedback] and/or [key performance indicator change].

Most of the time the main hypothesis can be hard to test when building out specific features. To break the hypothesis down further, you can create sub-hypothesis to test specific features using the following format:

We believe that 

[doing this/building this feature/ creating this experience]

for [these people/ personas]

will achieve [this outcome].

We will know this is true when we see

[this market feedback, quantitative measures, or qualitative insights].

Once your hypothesis statements are written. The next step includes deciding on the Key Performance Indicators that can validate your hypothesis for each feature build. This should again be done collaboratively. I’ll talk more about how to determine the right KPI to measure success in the next post. Stay tuned!

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Zain

Zain Abiddin is an Entrepreneur & Product Manager. He is the founder and Product Manager of Chillik Media, a design led software agency based in San Francisco.

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