Don’t Just Guess, Ask Good Questions!

Building on learnings from one test to the next is the key to sustainable growth, but most teams are forgetting to ask this one question as they plan their experiments: What will we do next?

Thinking through the follow-on experiments you will run if the hypothesis of your current test is proven or disproven is a great way to align teams on where you are trying to go. In this week’s Good Question! you will discover why.

We’ll explain why thinking about what’s next before you implement an experiment can drive better team thinking around experiments, reduce anxiety, improve prioritization, and ultimately help you keep the pedal down on growth.

So jump in. Good Question! episodes are less than 4 minutes long and help you and your team improve how you approach and drive growth in your business. Feel free to share them on your Slack channels.

Follow Sean Ellis and Ethan Garr on LinkedIn and on YouTube for more actionable insights to help you accelerate growth.

Check out last week’s Good Questions! here!


All right. Hey, there everyone. It’s Ethan GarR and it’s time for Good Question! Great growth teams ask the right questions to challenge and inspire each other all of the time. So each week I’m going to share one good question to help you and your team improve how you approach and drive growth inyour business. So let’s jump right into it!

This week’s good question is what will we do next? And we’re specifically asking this question in the context of testing and experimentation. What will we do next, if the experiment we plan to run proves or disproves our hypothesis? It is so easy to get excited about an idea and jump right into an experiment. Before you’ve really thought through all the pieces, but the best growth teams take the time to draw tangible test plans, where they articulate a sharply considered hypothesis set expectations for Impact, identify needed resources, and prepare the team for the effort at hand.

You don’t have to write a book. In fact, I coach teams to create vision documents for their experiments that are as succinct and simple as possible. But if you want to get it right, you’ve got to write it down.

What I’ve learned is that when growth teams take the time at this point in the process, before they run the experiment, to think through and lay out, “what will we do next,” it leads to better outcomes. Now let’s talk about why. 

Growth is all about momentum. We start by identifying high-leverage areas of our business, then turn

ideas into experiments so that we can make impact in those areas. Each experiment provides a learning to help us power decisions about what experiments to run next. The better we get it running experiments at a high velocity, the faster we can learn and grow. The challenge is actually to keep up with our own pace. 

When you’re trying to move fast and have a backlog of ideas it’s easy to look at an Optimizly result, for example, and declare a victory or a loss without really doing the thorough analysis, or without

documenting the learnings. The mistake in high-tempo testing, therefore, is in getting the results, but not truly turning them into the learnings that power the next cycle of experimentation. 

This is a good question to ask, to make it easier on you and your team to accelerate the test/learn flywheel. Thinking through what’s next helps everyone see the bigger picture. They can see how the

results of one test will be used to fuel the next, and how together, a series of experiments drives progress towards a greater objective. It’s one more tool to help your team align on impact and see how their individual efforts work to propel the company forward. And documenting what we’ll do next ahead of Implementation codifies the plan to ensure that each learning is captured.

If we disprove this hypothesis we’ll document the learning and we’ll pivot. If we prove the hypothesis, we’ll deploy the changes across our full audience and double down with other experiments. 

So ask this question before you run your experiments so that your roadmap is guided by your learnings. This way your path towards the north star allows each test results to help guide the way.

And ask this question to inform better decision making. So you’re not just jumping to the next experiment because it’s there in your backlog. But because it’s the right test to drive impact.


And finally ask this question so that everyexperiment yields value. Even the ones that aren’t wins. 

Now again, I’m an advocate, if not a maniac, for moving fast and not being afraid to make mistakes,

I just don’t like making the same mistakes twice. So yes, this may be one more step in your test planning process, but if you get it right to actually speed things up later on.

Benjamin Franklin wrote by failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail. So I think taking the time to ask and answer this question is actually time really well spent. 

This question can help your team power growth. Challenging each other to think through what’s next before you implement your experiments forces you to think more broadly about each initiative and hopefully it’ll help your team feel less anxious about managing the roadmap and ultimately taking a moment to think through your next move helps you keep the pedal down on growth all of the time. 

Well, look, we like to keep these things short and that’s all the time we’ve got. 

So thanks everyone for tuning in. I am Ethan Garr, and I’ll be back again next week with another episode of Good Question! Hope you’ve enjoyed it. And if you did, please follow me on LinkedIn. I love sharing actionable insights to help you and your team and accelerate growth. See you next week.

The State of Growth Survey 2022