Impact by design, measuring experiments - Success comes after learning from your failures

Small experiments and rapid learning

David Standen 

Now we know the differences between subjectivity and objectivity, here is a framework to control and limit subjectivity and ensure products that meet the customers’ needs. I wrote a previous article title ‘Objective facts, not subjective commentswhere I talk about the importance of remaining subjective in moments of struggle. Next I wanted to go into more detail about a framework I use called Lean experiment maps, which I’ve used to tell a story of incremental improvements, demonstrate success, encourage learning across teams and I hope this is something you can use and apply to your work. 

Now I know this isn’t a science class but a great technique to create focus and become more objective is to help people frame an assumption as a hypothesis. What this technique teaches is to help people step back and break down what they’re trying to communicate into manageable parts. If a problem is too big, breaking things down into smaller pieces helps you create the building blocks to reach the desired vision. for example, you wouldn’t sit down at a table and eat all of your food in one fatal mouth full – it’s ugly to witness and this doesn’t give you the time to take in the taste of each individual flavour. As creators we want people to step back, appreciate the complexity and break things down into components. What this means as a designer is that we can create experiences from a hypothesis that help drive expected user behaviours. Working in this way allows people who you’re working with, to be able to come to an agreement, move forward on a plan and attach a soft target that as a collective we feel is achievable.

Mapping your experiments

A great way I’ve found to take people on a journey of learning is to track these experiments and map out where things are improving, against things that could be improved further by learning from experiments that didn’t go as expected. A great framework I use is Lean experiment map

Tracking experiments over time lead to success

By making your work more visible and digestible people can easily follow along and ask the right type of questions like Why are we doing this? What is the objective of this experiment

We can go a step further and start applying a commercial lens to demonstrate that the actual increases in conversion result in an uplift in revenue. For example an uplift in customer acquisition not only increases the net easy score but also positively impacts the bottom line revenue.

Using this framework has really helped me to communicate the impact and the importance of product design in business. It also aids as a tool for product managers and design leaders to communicate clearly with business leaders and ultimately build autonomy for their teams.

Hope you find this useful and if you’d like to discuss how I am using these frameworks in the workplace and how it can help your business please reach out to me.

© 2020 David Standen