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Loops and Documents


Where product managers end up is not where they start. Build-measure-learn and design thinking are two powerful ways to accelerate value creation and capture. Kiln uses these concepts - framed as loops and documents respectively - as foundational schemas in implementation.



GIST is a modern approach to learning loops; it stands for Goals, Ideas, Steps and Tasks. The underlying theory advocates rapid experimentation to increase confidence that ideas deliver measurable value.

goals define what we wish to achieve, ideas are hypothetical ways to achieve the goals, steps are mini-projects that implement an idea in parts while validating it, and tasks are the day-to-day activities that implement a step1

GIST has a variety of tools available - quantitative metrics, idea banks and ICE scores - to structure loops and is often depicted as a sequential whiteboard with sticky notes.



Design thinking is a convenient way to categorise different stages of product planning and execution. Kiln uses a specific flavour of design thinking, assigning a single output document to each stage.


These documents are live artifacts with a dual purpose; they help product managers think better by themselves and communicate their thoughts more clearly to others.


The distinction between loops and documents is the difference between routes and maps. GIST is an execution route against the backdrop of design thinking artifacts.

Modified GIST

Kiln treats documents as a specialised, parallel step stage in the GIST loop. Documents are persistent objects stored by digital twins; the outcome of a document step is an update to the relevant artifact.


Act quickly with GIST loops and plan persistently with design thinking documents