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Online Course

Hypothesis-Driven Development

University of Virginia via Coursera

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Overview

To deliver agile outcomes, you have to do more than implement an agile process- you have to create focus around what matters to your user and rigorously test how well what you’re doing is delivering on that focus. Driving to testable ideas (hypotheses) and maximizing the results of your experimentation is at the heart of a high-functioning practice of agile. This course shows you how to facilitate alignment and create a culture of experimentation across your product pipeline.

You’ll understand how to answer these four big questions:
1. How do we drive our agility with analytics?
2. How do we create compelling propositions for our user?

3. How do we achieve excellent usability?

4. How do we release fast without creating disasters?


As a Project Management Institute (PMI®) Registered Education Provider, the University of Virginia Darden School of Business has been approved by PMI to issue 20 professional development units (PDUs) for this course, which focuses on core competencies recognized by PMI. (Provider #2122)

This course is supported by the Batten Institute at UVA’s Darden School of Business. The Batten Institute’s mission is to improve the world through entrepreneurship and innovation: www.batteninstitute.org.

Syllabus

How do we drive our agility with analytics?
-How do you go from backlog grooming to blockbuster results with agile? Hypothesis-driven decisions. Specifically, you need to make sure that your team is investing its time and energy in something where everyone knows what constitutes success. Most people and most teams aren’t used to working this way, and this week we’ll focus on how you get started in a practical way.

How do we create compelling propositions for our user?

-Nothing will help a team deliver better outcomes like making sure they’re building something the user values. This might sound simple or obvious, but I think after this week it’s likely you’ll find opportunities to help improve your team’s focus by testing ideas more definitively before you invest in developing software. In this module you’ll learn how to make concept testing an integral part of your product pipeline. We’ll continue to apply methods from Lean Startup, looking at how they pair with agile. We’ll look at how high-functioning teams design and run situation-appropriate experiments to test ideas, and how that works before the fact (when you’re testing an idea) and after the fact (when you’re testing the value of software you’ve released).

How do we achieve excellent usability?

-The best products are tested for usability early and often, avoiding the destructive stress and uncertainty of a ‘big unveil’. In this module, you’ll learn how to diagnose, design and execute phase-appropriate user testing. The tools you’ll learn to use here (a test plan template, prototyping tool, and test session infrastructure) are accessible/teachable to anyone on your team. And that’s a very good thing- often products are released with poor usability because there ‘wasn’t enough time’ to test it. With these techniques, you’ll be able to test early and often, reinforcing your culture of experimentation.

How do we release fast without creating disasters?
-You’ve learned how to test ideas and usability to reduce the amount of software your team needs to build and to focus its execution.Now you’re going to learn how high-functioning teams approach testing of the software itself. The practice of continuous delivery and the closely related Devops movement are changing the way we build and release software. It wasn’t that long ago where 2-3 releases a year was considered standard. Now, Amazon, for example, releases code every 11.6 seconds. This week, we’ll look at the delivery pipeline and step through what successful practitioners do at each stage and how you can diagnose and apply the practices that will improve your implementation of agile.

Taught by

Alex Cowan

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