assumption-gridassumption-grid

Assumption Grid Template

Organize your ideas and guide your decisions.

About the Assumption Grid template

What is an Assumption Grid?

Most business models and decisions are based on assumptions. Whether you’re a startup, an enterprise company, or somewhere in between, you’re probably making assumptions almost every day. But when resources and time are on the line, it can be hard to decide whether your assumptions are worth making -- and if you’re making tough judgment calls, it’s not always easy to know which assumptions to test.

Developed by IBM, an Assumption Grid is a powerful tool that helps you decide which assumptions from your business model you should test first. The grid plots your assumptions on two axes: high impact assumptions for which you have little information, and low impact assumptions for which you have little information. Visualizing your assumptions can empower you to make judgment calls, prioritize, mitigate risk, and overcome uncertainties.

Once you’ve placed a variety of items on the grid, the Assumption Grid becomes a great conversational tool. Bring your team into a room and have them go over the results. New assumptions might materialize, or you might move items around on the grid. 

When should you use the Assumption Grid template?

IBM recommends using the Assumption Grid as often as possible, and that is sound advice. For most organizations, risk is the only constant. The sooner you can recognize and evaluate your teams’ assumptions, the more quickly you can mitigate potential risk and make judgment calls.

You can use the Assumption Grid anytime you’d like to promote critical thinking about your ideas. The grid prompts you to consider levels of certainty and risk, which can help you and your team to uncover some of your biases and unfounded beliefs. The Assumption Grid is also a useful tool for overcoming decision-making roadblocks. If your team is divided on a decision, bring everyone together to build an Assumption Grid. The ensuing conversations might clarify goals and expectations.

How do you use the Assumption Grid template?

Start with our pre-made template, making any changes you’d like to suit your particular needs. Invite team members to join your board and collaborate. You can create color-coded sticky notes so it’s easy to keep track of each person’s contributions. Use the @mention or video chat if you need to get input from others. You can upload other file types such as documents, photos, videos, and PDFs to store all the relevant information in one place. 

Assumption Grid Template

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