Rapid Experimentation: Essential Tool for Leaders

Predictability and measurement are standard tools used by business leaders to advance the fortunes of any ongoing concern. But one tool that is often under utilized - particularly by smaller businesses - when seeking improvements is that of rapid experimentation.

By definition, rapid experimentation conjures up images of throwing something against a wall to see if it sticks. This approach to managing projects makes a lot of business leaders uncomfortable, because it is predicated on the notion that failure is expected. And failure is usually frowned upon in business. But there is plenty of evidence in the innovation space that experimentation can lead to product breakthroughs and success.

Mapping your process is key.

Mapping your process is key.

Designing processes that make activity outcomes repeatable, predictable and measurable is the hallmark of any successful business consultant. To achieve success in process design, a lot of advance research and testing must take place. But, when factoring in limitations due to time and budget leaders often find themselves in situations where they are making business decisions based on educated guesses.

Every organization has opportunities to consider quick experiments to test hypothesis regarding their operations. Here are some tips on deploying with your teams:

  • Clearly define your business challenge:

  • Analyze the current condition of your process

  • Determine a near-term target condition as a goal

  • Begin initial experimentation by removing obstacles from the current process

  • Review & measure results to determine if near-term target was achieved

  • Develop a new process map to reflect the changes reflected in the experiment

The analysis of your organization’s challenges will be greatly served by deploying rapid experiments periodically to ensure that assumptions about the current approach are valid. Meanwhile, the measurement part of the process will help to keep the experiments from becoming “shots in the dark”.