Manage hypotheses

  • Updated

You accomplish work through hypotheses in Experiment Collaboration. Each hypothesis moves through a workflow from creation to completion.

Create a hypothesis

Click + and select Hypothesis from the drop-down list.


You can add details, including Titles, Campaign, Start Date, Due Date, Workflow, and Fields. Learn more about fields. You can apply the hypothesis to the most appropriate campaign and select from a drop-down list of workflows. Click Create to create the hypothesis.


The new hypothesis page displays and has the following tabs:

  • Brief – Select a hypothesis brief template or write a brief to apply a structured test plan.
  • Variations – Upload images or add links to live web pages for on-screen commenting and annotations. You can also use the text editor. 
  • Experiment – Click Link Experiment to select an experiment to link this hypothesis to. Or, select Add Manual Experiment to enter the experiment details manually.
  • FieldsUpdate or add fields to provide more metadata about this hypothesis for better organization and searchability.
  • History – Provides an audit trail of interactions within the hypothesis over time. Who took what actions when is provided in an easy-to-read timeline format that corresponds with changes made in the hypothesis over time.
Linking experiments from Optimizely Feature Experimentation to an Experiment Collaboration hypothesis is in beta. Contact your Customer Success Manager for information.

Create a hypothesis in a campaign

You can create hypotheses from each campaign, and Experiment Collaboration helps reduce the time it takes to set up hypotheses and ensure they are consistently tagged. On the Activities tab of a campaign, select Add > Hypothesis.


Enter the hypothesis title, select a workflow for the hypothesis, and define a due date.

The most recently created hypotheses display at the top of the list in the Activities tab of the campaign. You can view, access, and manage content and non-content hypotheses your campaign depends on directly from this view. You can also get a visual display for the timing and due dates of campaign activity by using the visual and timeline calendars in the Plan view.

Create a hypothesis from the List view 

In the Plan view, the List view lets you create hypotheses and events to display upcoming activity dates.

To create a hypothesis in the List view, click + and select Hypothesis.


Add a hypothesis brief

On the Brief tab, upload files or enter a hypothesis description to encourage collaborative brainstorming and ensure that creators have information before they begin work (such as key objectives, audiences, and pillars). You can add a brief in several ways.


  • Brief Template – Click Brief Template to select from saved templates.


    A template is displayed to help you get started.


    • Upload – Select Upload. You can connect to your Microsoft 365 OneDrive Account to upload a brief from there in one of the following formats:
      • Word
      • PowerPoint
      • Excel
      • PDF
      • Video (MOV, MP4)
      • Image Files (JPEG, GIF, SVG, and BMP)
      • Figma
      • InVision

      Unsupported files display a "no preview" icon but remain available to download.

    • Library – Select an asset from the library as your hypothesis brief.
    • Add URL – Enter the URL to a file on Google, Figma, Milanote, or non-gated website.


    • Write Brief – Click Write Brief and type a brief in the online text editor. While you write a brief, the text editor autosaves the draft. However, if you try to go to any other module while writing the brief, an alert warns that you have unsaved changes and asks if you want to discard the changes. Click Save when you are done.

Add variations

Variations let you add proposed experiment variations and collect feedback from your team.

To create a new variation, on the the Variations tab, click Add Variation. Add variation content from either: 

  • Your Device
  • Library (if your role has access)
  • Text Editor
  • Add URL


Some examples of content to add to the variations tab include:

  • Images of final mockups of the different variations.
  • Design specifications files.
  • Text explaining the different variations.
  • URLs of updated pages.

Link experiments

The Experiment tab lets you link an experiment to your hypothesis. Alternatively, you can manually add your experiment start and end dates and a URL reference to where the experiment is configured.

Go to Experiment and click Link Experiment or Add Manual Experiment.

link experiment view.png

Add fields to the hypothesis

Fields and field values may automatically populate from the campaign or brief. If your hypothesis has a workflow, only the fields defined in that workflow display. You can go to the Fields tab and add new fields for the hypothesis by selecting Add Fields. You can click Create New to create a field and then add it.


For single-select fields, you can keep the values they inherit from the selected workflow or opt for the ones they inherit from the chosen campaign. For multi-select fields, the values are merged.

You can also set up mandatory fields for their tasks during the hypothesis creation or completion.

Managing workflow dates

Forward and backward scheduling

Workflows have forward and backward scheduling logic so that when a Hypothesis Start Date, Hypothesis Due Date, or Step Due Date is changed, you can update only that date or all subsequent dates by the same number of business days.

  • Forward and backward scheduling triggers and automatically applies durations when due dates are assigned to steps (or if durations are already applied in the workflow settings).
  • When you apply durations, users can update the date for the particular step or the other steps based on how many business days the date has moved forward or back.


  • If you want to update other steps, you can manually adjust or assign dates on the page. You can only manually adjust dates in order with the rest of the workflow. You cannot edit the other dates.


  • Completed or skipped steps do not impact the due date. If you choose to undo a completed or skipped step and that date is out of order, the original due date is removed so you can apply a new due date.


Update hypothesis start date and due date

Forward and backward scheduling applies for Hypothesis Start and Hypothesis Due Date. You can set the hypothesis start date or hypothesis due date from the hypothesis window. Click the dates to change them to your preference. 


After you set the date, click Save.

Smart durations

If you activate Smart Durations for the workflow from the settings page, the due dates of subsequent steps and the hypothesis move backward or forward by the number of business days the previous step was delayed or completed earlier. For information, see Manage Workflows.

If the hypothesis has other dependent hypotheses, then smart durations trigger a window to select the date changes for the dependent hypotheses.

Comment on a hypothesis

  • Click Comments on the hypothesis page to post comments.
  • Click Add comment on a step, then enter a comment in the comment box.

Select the option from the context menu (...) to Edit and Delete your comments on the hypothesis page.

Click Show Resolved to display the comments that are marked as Resolved.

Watch or unwatch the hypothesis

In the new hypothesis view, you can add relevant users as a watcher or watch the hypothesis yourself. Use the eye icon on the hypothesis page's top right corner.

Click Manage Watchers, a drop-down list displays from which you can Start WatchingStop Watching, or search and select another watcher.


When you try to add users as a watcher, but they do not have access to the hypothesis, you can provide them with Edit, View, or Comment access to that hypothesis.

Only Edit and View access to the hypothesis lets the user receive all types of notifications associated with the hypothesis.

Click x beside another user to remove them as a watcher.

You can view and update your notification settings by selecting the Notifications tab on your profile. To go to your profile, select your profile image in the upper right, then select your name. 


Assignees to the hypothesis are the default watchers and have edit access.

View hypothesis history

Each hypothesis has a History tab that provides a detailed activity log of work in the hypothesis to maintain end-to-end visibility, displaying who made what changes and why.hypothesis

Actions captured within the History tab include:

  • Changes to hypothesis title or brief.
  • Changes to workflows (such as step owner, step status, and due dates).
  • Added or resolved comments (within hypothesis or individual piece of content).
  • Changes to hypothesis Labels or Custom Fields.
  • Uploads, downloads, and added attachments.

Delete a hypothesis

To delete a hypothesis, select the context menu (...) and click Delete. Confirm your deletion.

Restore a hypothesis from the Recycling bin

Admins can restore a deleted hypothesis or hypothesis content, such as files, images, or URLs, from the recycle bin.

You can restore hypotheses and hypothesis content from the recycle bin up to 60 days after initially deleting them.

To restore a hypothesis or hypothesis content from the Recycle Bin:

  1. Go to your avatar > Recycle Bin.
  2. You can search for your hypothesis by its title.
  3. Click Restore

When you restore a hypothesis' content, it displays as an update to the hypothesis' History tab in the hypothesis in which it was created.