Experiments move you forward

Even when it doesn’t feel like it.

In the previous post, I was wondering where Bias to Action was as a pattern. While we were discussing experiments in that post, Ralph McArdell remarked:

“I would also argue that any decent experiment moves you forward as you gain knowledge from the experiment.”

Yes. Either it can be moved forward to a Proof of Concept, or be discarded for now. The idea is not viable now, or maybe never. And there, our first action-biased pattern Proof of Concept is staring us in the face. I even wrote it in yesterdays post.

The pattern language has some more action-biased patterns up its sleeve, e.g. the Research through Action pattern:

The challenges are new and complex, information is scarce, and the company is pushing to go fast.

Which can be combined with Reduce Cost of Experimentation :

When someone has an idea that requires validation, the costs of doing experiments around it needs to be as low as possible.

If you do more experiments, you gain experience, while creating a system that supports experiments, driving the cost down, which enables doing more experiments and so a virtuous feedback loop can emerge.

More Knowledge results in more Proofs of Concept or more rejected hypotheses.

Diagram of effects, described above

There are of course other ways of lowering the cost per experiment, and limiting factors. For instance, success is its own worst enemy: do more Proof of Concepts, have less capacity for experiments.

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