As I find myself diving deeper into the Lean Start up and the Lean Analytics world, I start questioning some of the Agile practices that been  have followed me on every single Agile project I worked on. For instance: the User Story. 

 

As a < type of user >,
I want < some goal >
so that < some reason >.

 

This User Story format was created by Mike Cohn years ago [Users Stories Applied], and ever since it has used by many Agile teams. Typically, a Product Backlog has a list of User Stories to be worked on.

 

Nevertheless there is another kind of work which Lean enthusiastic are bringing to everyone’s attention:  hypothesis.

 

Hypothesisis a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.

 

I have learned the following representation from Alison Vale and Rodrigode Toledo.

 

 

Basically I was seeking a better template for a hypothesis. The User Story format was not working for this one. I need a good format to describe the ?, the -> and the ! – my hypothesis, the work needed in order to get this hypothesis in play, and the way to validate the results.

 

So here is my recommendation for a simple and generic hypothesis format:

 

If < I do this > then < this will happen >

 

I am currently calling these Business Hypothesis (please share if you have a better name for it). It includes the ?, the -> and the !; being the ? and the ! explicitly on the text, and  the -> should be handled as details for that hypothesis. This is similarly to User Stories, where the implementation details are not contemplated on the format as a… I want to… so that…

 

This has been working well for the teams I worked with. Please share your experience with hypothesis. Has this or other formats worked well for you?