Hypothesis Driven Development – an experimentation approach to software development

Experimentation is a proven scientific method for innovation. Hypothesis Driven Development is a theory of supposition based on observations, tests, learning’s, applied to new experiments. The outcomes of earlier tryouts become the bases of implementing new ideas, constructively used in the software industry too.

The projects that are Hypothesis Driven Development are not merely an experiment; it includes strategies, test cases, tested codes, evaluation, and whether the hypothesis was accepted or rejected.

Hypothesis Driven Development

Need for Hypothesis Driven Development:

  • Delivery of new features to users in a shorter time frame
  • Rising customers expectations where customers demand better solutions
  • Huge competition and a variety of similar apps availability challenges quality improvement
  • Comparisons and ratings of similar apps are openly visible and can impact the user base
  • The old method of documentation and requirement analysis do not match and pass the pressure test of the current world’s rapidly changing world of software
  • Requirement documents can lag all aspects of business, usability, and expectations of stakeholders.
  • Adequate and long-lasting solutions is the need of every service provider and buyer
  • Hypothesis is an enhanced option of requirements that lets you deliver faster
  • Added value, growth that brings scalability to the business
  • Filters out the causes of failures due to mismatched requirements vs. offerings
  • Defining goals, setting milestones and setting measurable
  • Brings clarity and visibility to the development
  • Aids in exploring new possibilities of  software development
  • Saves you from creating wasteful solutions
  • Scientifically proven methods bring reliability in software development
  • Uninterrupted continuous delivery features
  • Based on user response the feature modification and re-release is scheduled
  • Helps to accelerate innovation by providing simple solutions to complex  problems
  • Keep formulating new hypothesis
  • Bring organizational change that creates trust
  • Better teamwork and improved communication within developers
  • Helpful in creating a new business model
  • Lets you build multiple hypotheses
  • Manage hypothesis by checking the stage where the experiment is prepared and another where the validations are actively applied to measure the outcome
  • Instead of developers beliefs the hypothesis driven development is about improved user satisfaction. Tried and tested methodologies enables step wise implementation of hypothesis. It sets best industry practices and encourages repeatable tests using acquired data and knowledge.
  • A scientific view about software development brings astonishing results down the journey line.

Basis for Hypothesis Driven Development:

  • Every opportunity is a learning opportunity
  • Assemble data to validate the hypothesis
  • Understand the user and the way they use certain software
  • Refine the ideas that once seemed wonderful
  • Brilliant use customer feedback to inculcate learning
  • Making use of user stories as inspiration in product development
  • Form the hypothesis that is flexible
  • Test heading towards improvement, discover new possibilities
  • Create a culture of operating by utilizing the hypothesis from the knowledge base
  • Footing towards measuring what matters, define actionable metrics
  • Run and evaluate a defined hypothesis
  • Accept or reject the hypothesis

Is practicing Hypothesis Driven Development difficult?

Not if the metrics are established, criteria of success and failure are set, how you make decisions, clarity on why are you experimenting, the usability of feature to judge the need and precise use. If your highest priority is customer satisfaction, you will select the Hypothesis Driven Development method and deliver value enclosed software solutions.

Eliminate the barriers between the sales, customer representatives, and developers with transparency and added levels of inspection. The series of experiments allows you to gather feedback and improve immediately. Awareness of pitfalls and succeeding codes in an organized system for research makes the hypothesis better. At times, when the hypothesis fails to prove, we are still left with valuable insights.

Hypothesis Framework:

Traditional and Behaviour Driven Development both have failed to a great extent due to their limitations of goal setting and delivering benefits. Hypothesis includes the proven steps to achieve the desired outcome.

A structure that supports the Hypothesis Driven Development is belief, outcome and measurable. It lets you define the test capability of the product or service by identifying the functionality we will develop to test the hypothesis, expected outcome of the experiment, and the signals that confide the capability.

Hypothesis-driven development lights up progressive exposure

When we combine hypothesis-driven development with progressive exposure strategies, we can vertically slice our solution, incrementally delivering on our long-term vision. With each slice, we progressively expose experiments, enable features that delight our users and hide those that did not make the cut.

But there is more. When we embrace hypothesis-driven development, we can learn how technology works together, or not, and what our customers need and want. We also complement the test-driven development (TDD) principle. TDD encourages us to write the test first (hypothesis), then confirm our features are correct (experiment), and succeed or fail the test (evaluate). It is all about quality and delighting our users, as outlined in principles 1, 3, and 7 of the Agile Manifesto.

Examples of Hypothesis Driven Development (HDD):

Example 1:

Problem Statement: Our team observed the hotel website is updated, the content is up to the mark and relevant, the services and feedback are good still the online registrations are lesser compared to walk-ins.

Missing Element: We found the images on the website are insufficient, unclear, and not the latest. In addition, its size and quality is an issue.

HDD Statement:

  • Required Action: Replacing existing images with quality images, large and add noticeable images on the booking page balanced to combine with the content
  • Expected Outcome: Improved customer engagement, easy search, establishing relationships with the content and higher conversion
  • Experiment Criteria: When we see, about 8% increase in booking from site visitors who review the improved website and hotel images then complete the booking in 2 days as a measurable signal

Example 2:

Problem Statement: Our team created a landing page to encourage customers to try our new mobile app. Visitors on the page check the details yet do not download and visit other pages without leaving any comment.

Missing Element: Multiple links to download the mobile app is confusing, there are broken links, and the page design is not appealing.

HDD Statement:

  • Required Action: Replace existing links, redesigning the page, add the feedback section for not downloading the app in spite of spending time on the page and improving the display
  • Expected Outcome:  Increased number of mobile app downloads, more mobile app users and gather customer feedback
  • Experiment Criteria: When we see an increase in clicks on mobile app link of Google Play and other links from the site, 3% customers opt for paid premium features and we have no complaints on the functioning of the links as a measurable signal

Example 3:

Problem statement: Our team found that traffic from social media sites is negligible on our event management company website, even when our existing customers and target/ prospects are active online.

Missing Element: The content on social media did not have any backlinks to our website,  the pages which were linked no more exists or are modified when company website was upgraded and our content was not easy to share on other platforms.

HDD Statement:

  • Required Action: Adding correct back links, allowing easy share for the content, and making our social media page interesting
  • Expected Outcome: Increased activity of our customer’s on social media platforms, frequent sharing of content to rise sales and help in branding
  • Experiment Criteria: When we see traffic from social media has increased by 5% and an increase in bookings by 2% in a month as a measurable signal.

Experiment Criteria defines the success and relates to the hypothesis and its strong concept that results in better execution in developing new or updating existing software.

Synopsis:

Devoid of Hypothesis Driven Development, you can end up creating an abstract art piece, which may fail to relate with the software users. Software specifications can give you varied results and levels of quality. Whereas, the tested methods ensure high standards, brings accountability, an approach that has a motive, define purpose lets the team to match the criteria.

Hypothesis Driven Development an effective tool for software engineering is worthwhile.

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