REI – Research, Experiment, Implement

Pic of a magnifying glass, a beaker and a rocket

Many iterative or continuous flow teams fall into the trap of trying to lock down a final solution, build it and deliver it. But that’s not how product development really works. Instead, there is a constant learning cycle to figure out what it is that’s needed, then to test and improve until the desired outcomes are reached.

The REI acronym is something I came up with to get teams into thinking about how to break down their options. The three modes are to do some research, run an experiment, or implement an option fully.

An example of some research would be to conduct some user research. Observing real users in the field, at work or at play to understand their needs better. Some other research might be to understand a new technology by finding out if it has everything that the team needs to implement an option.

An experiment could be to test out a new user flow, either in a lab type setting, sitting with users and observing their actions, or perhaps running a split test where a small portion of the users will be diverted to compare how they use a new flow compared to the rest of the control users.

Implementation could be a fix sent live, a new flow implemented – essentially anything that needs to be delivered out to market. Implementation is costly and confusing to users to remove so it’s best to validate it’s usefulness before simply launching new features when they are built.

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