Verify hypotheses rather than follow a plan

This is the 3rd post from my sincere dev manifesto series.

The difference between theory and practice is practice.

Unless you already did the same task several times in the same context, you can hardly predict its outcome precisely. When the task and the context get more complex, there is no chance your oracle comes true.

When we prepare a release, or a piece of code, we often face the unknown, somewhere between cynefin’s chaotic and complicated domains. And it’s a good thing. Otherwise, we would be doing the same thing all over again. And when humans do repetitive things, computers come together and make fun of us.

In complex domain, we iterate on hypothesis statement and validation. In chaotic domain, we do anything, and check the outcome. In both cases, we learn and iterate.

So we make hypotheses a lot, all the time. Wise people take time and attention to spot and verify them. This is how they capture understanding in an iterative and incremental way.

Others cringe to their beliefs, however true or relevant. They always act as if the context was simple or complicated, and watch the ground fall under their feet, when what they thought of as foundations was actually quicksand.

John Cutler created the Facts Assumptions Beliefs practice, where you regularly visit statements, and classify them according to how objective they are. Stating the difference is already a big step.

So I doubt, a lot, about anything I hear or do. This is why I test, I explore, I fail, I learn. I do it all the time. I make sure people see me doubting, and encourage everybody doing the same.

I commit to interrupting discussions to identify and challenge hypotheses, asking for facts that increase confidence in hypotheses and options, and taking the time to gather facts and clues. I commit to doubting and making people doubt.


One comment

  1. Pingback: Sincere developer manifesto | AAAgile

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s