Assumption Map


What is it?

Assumption maps are most useful when kicking off something new, which could be a feature, a dedicated discovery, or a larger programme of work. They enable a group of people to surface all of the assumptions about an area of interest, visualise the associated urgency and uncertainty, and not only foster a shared understanding within the group, but also provide a simple and clear framework with which to prioritise the assumptions, focusing on the riskiest first and deferring those which could prove merely as distractions.

How to use it

Block out some time (30-45 mins is usually enough) as part of a dedicated kick-off session with key stakeholders, ideally after the meat of the feature / problem / programme has been talked through.

Everybody adds assumptions, and each contributor talks through each one, with the group then aligning on how quickly they feel they need to prove or disprove it, and how known or unknown it is.

The assumption map drives the activities of the core team who are working on the feature / problem / programme, enabling them to focus on those items closest to the top right.

Review the assumption map weekly or fortnightly, capturing new assumptions as you go, and striving to prove or disprove them in priority order.


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