Editor’s note: The 2015 Lean Startup Conference is just around the corner (it’s from November 16-19th in San Francisco, and there’s still time to get your ticket!). We have dozens of excellent speakers and mentors who are eager to share their product development, entrepreneurship, and innovation stories–you’ll never see these experts in one place ever again. Learn more about them in our ‘Lean Startup Speakers’ series.

Next up is Teresa Torres, who is a Product Coach at Product Talk. She’ll be giving a talk on How to Choose Your Next Experiments at the 2015 Lean Startup Conference. Learn more about her here.


“I think we should use folders.”

“I think we should use tags.”

“I know. Let’s test them both.”

Does this sound familiar? I bet it does.

By far the most common mistake teams make when they are new to Lean Startup methodologies is they fall into the trap of substituting judgment with experimentation.

Instead of thinking through which option might work best, teams throw spaghetti at the wall and hope something sticks.

This is both ineffective and expensive.

The Lean Startup gives us tools to test our judgment, not replace it.

As founders, product managers, and UXers, we still have knowledge and experience to bring to the table.

We can and should reason our way to good solutions.

The Lean Startup doesn’t change that.

Instead, it encourages us to maintain a state of doubt long enough to test our reasoning.

Instead of moving forward with certainty, the tools in the Lean Startup toolbox encourage us to pause and test our assumptions before barreling forward with a complete solution.

Just as scientists don’t test every permutation in their space, instead they use insights to identify the most promising experiments, we can and should do the same.

During my session, I’ll walk attendees through a case study, where they’ll work through mapping the challenge – exploring the problem space long enough to be sure those insights occur.

This exercise will help product teams learn how to define the context of their own challenge so that they can escape the common pitfall of testing everything.

This session will help attendees create a map that guides their future decisions and helps them choose their next experiments.

About the speaker: Teresa Torres coaches teams on user-centered, hypothesis-driven, product development practices including Agile, Lean Startup, and design thinking. She helps companies integrate user research, experimentation, and the right analytics into their process resulting in better product decisions. Her recent clients include CareerBuilder, Prezi, and the Wikimedia Foundation. She blogs at www.ProductTalk.org

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