The scientific revolution shows us how to approach experimentation in software.
Modern science is based on the latin “ignoramous” — we do not know. This was the foundation of the scientific revolution. A revolution of ignorance! It was launched by the idea that we do not know the answers. And, the things we think we know, can be proven wrong as we gain knowledge. No concept, no idea, nor theory is sacred.
And, it’s okay we don’t know, because we know we can use math and science to gain more knowledge. Then use that knowledge to develop new technologies.
Unfortunately, that’s not how most products are built. All too often we start with believing that we know what to build and how to build it without enough time and energy spent on disciplined discovery.
Most product managers I talk to don’t have enough time for true discovery. And, instead are told that part of the company already “knows”. This is similar to the time before the Scientific Revolution, where religions asserted that all the things that were important to know were already known (e.g. in scripture). If you didn’t know something, you should just ask someone with more knowledge (e.g. a Priest — and maybe pray to God for the answer).
It’s critical to start product discovery with a stance of ignorance.
Big credit to Yuval Noah Harari’s SAPIENS, for inspiring this post and providing the historical information.