The Power of the Assumptions Workshop

What is the Assumptions workshop and why do we do that?

This is an exercise that we recommend for all start ups or big companies before they invest in time and money to build a product. It opens doors and provides a guidance for user research.

Many startups started with a great idea. They love their idea so much that they believe its gonna change the world and they just can’t wait to go ahead and build it. However, what we believe a good a idea that solves problem ABC might not be a good product that people actually need. We often made some assumptions about what problem exists for what kinds of people. We believe we need a product to solve that problem. Unless it is been validated that those assumptions are true, they are only assumptions. We cannot build a successful product that only based on assumptions.

We need to know what are the most critical assumptions that if they are validated to be false, it will kill our idea.


The goal of the Assumptions workshop is to identity those assumptions and use them to formulate user interview questions in the future for validation. The ultimate goal is to validate if this is a good idea in the early stage before wasting time and money building it.


  • Have all your stakeholders join this 1 hr workshop. This is a group brain storming activity.
  • If you are working on an idea alone, you can do it yourself too.
  • Give some sticky notes to all participants
  • Let everyone write down the assumptions on sticky notes that they made about the product/feature. Spend about 10 mins. Do not think too much. The key is to write down whatever comes to your mind as fast as possible.
  • Let everyone come to the whiteboard and put their stickies on. While they do that, they explain what they wrote.
  • Next, draw a 2x2 quadrant on the whiteboard. Easy to Validate, Hard to Validate, Risky to success, Less Risky to success.
  • Discuss as a group while grouping the stickies into those quadrants.


For those that appear on Easy to validate and risky to success quadrant, we need to take actions on them.

We need to transform those assumptions to open ended interview questions and let the customers tell us if the assumptions are right or wrong.