Engaging With History: Forecasting the Future and Creating Pragmatic Product Requirements

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

Oct 03, 2023

3 min read


Engaging With History: Forecasting the Future and Creating Pragmatic Product Requirements


Understanding history is crucial for accurately forecasting the future and making informed decisions. By examining patterns and behaviors that have repeated throughout history, we gain valuable insights into human behavior and the potential outcomes of certain actions. This article explores the importance of engaging with history in various aspects of life, from economic forecasting to creating pragmatic product requirements.

Engaging with History for Accurate Forecasting:

When we haven't engaged with history, everything feels unprecedented. However, the more we delve into historical events, the more we realize that certain behaviors and patterns are deeply ingrained in human nature. This realization gives us the confidence to predict future outcomes with greater accuracy. For example, economies have a long history of panic and sudden collapse, often driven by a pattern of excessive optimism leading to debt, and eventually resulting in a crash. By studying these historical events, we can better understand the warning signs and take proactive measures to prevent similar crises in the future.

The Importance of Engaging with History in Product Development:

In the realm of product development, engaging with history can greatly enhance the creation of Product Requirements Documents (PRDs). By examining past projects and their outcomes, product teams can gain valuable insights into what works and what doesn't. One modern way to create effective PRDs is by utilizing epics, which represent specific features. When creating a pragmatic user story, it is essential to include the following elements:

  • 1. Core User Story: Clearly state the user and their desired action. For example, "As an admin user, I can X so that..."
  • 2. Essential Functional Details: Summarize the core functional details in bullet points to keep it concise and easy to understand.
  • 3. Scenarios: Provide information on what to do in different scenarios. While these scenarios don't need to be exhaustive, they should be discussed during scoping and sizing sessions. Collaboration with the team will help identify and agree on pragmatic solutions.

Incorporating Historical Insights in Product Development:

By linking designs to the PRDs, product teams can ensure that the vision is well-communicated and understood. While the designs should be as fleshed out as possible, it is important to allow room for iteration and adjustments as the product is being built. Additionally, providing a link to the epic or labels helps provide wider context and ensures that the user story fits into the bigger picture.

Applying Historical Perspectives in Decision-Making:

Engaging with history also plays a vital role in decision-making. By documenting important decisions and clarifying questions in the comments section of the PRDs, future reference becomes easier. This documentation helps individuals understand why specific decisions were made and provides valuable insights for future projects. Investing time in creating comments that are easy to reference and understand can save significant effort in the long run.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Study historical patterns: Take the time to explore historical events and patterns related to your field of interest. By understanding the past, you can gain valuable insights into the present and future.
  • 2. Learn from past mistakes: Analyze past failures and mistakes to avoid repeating them. Engaging with history allows you to identify warning signs and take proactive measures to prevent similar outcomes.
  • 3. Document decisions and clarify questions: When working on projects, whether it's product development or any other field, make a habit of documenting important decisions and clarifying questions. This will serve as a valuable reference point in the future and help prevent confusion or mistakes.


Engaging with history is essential for accurate forecasting, effective product development, and informed decision-making. By studying historical patterns and behaviors, we gain valuable insights into human nature and the potential outcomes of certain actions. Incorporating historical perspectives in various aspects of life allows us to make better predictions, create pragmatic requirements, and avoid repeating past mistakes. So, let's embrace history as a powerful tool for shaping our future.

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