Pattern: Options and Hedges

Research has created deeper understanding, and a few potentially promising transformation paths have begun to emerge. Continue reducing the risk by focusing on the most promising options and developing them further

You have achieved moderate certainty by running a series of small experiments,research projects, and trainings, but the team is not yet confident enough to make major decisions about the transformation.

In This Context

Your research has given you a better understanding of what is going on, but major decisions are still not obvious. Commitment to a large solution at this point still carries serious high risk of choosing the wrong solution, while running additional tiny experiments that uncover no new information is just a waste of time.
• Pressure is rising to make commitments.
• Too easy to keep running experiments forever.
• There will always be some uncertainty, no matter how much research you do.


Make small tactical decisions aimed at creating and understanding a new path forward. They can be rolled back or forward, ramped up or down, and will at least eliminate some options while you create new plans. The goal is to validate the results of any successful experiments performed so far.
• Do mid-size proof-of-concept projects that take a few weeks to a couple of months.
• Stay aware of biases like the IKEA effect and sunk-cost fallacy that could lead to sticking with a solution even when it’s not really working
.• No commitments yet! Maintaining the ability to change direction reasonably easily is still important here.
• Take a vendor-neutral approach: companies need the best tools and techniques for their cloud native platform, and these are not necessarily the ones offered in bundled solutions.


You have uncovered the majority of the important information required and are reasonably certain where you are going next.
+ Risk declines because, as you experiment, you eliminate things that don’t work and reveal the ones that do.
+ Next steps come into stark relief. The results of all these little experiments actually shape the architecture of the new system.
+ You are ready to take the next big steps (Big Bet) because you have gained knowledge and experience.