I know Yes-And. I know No-But (or no instead).

But recently, a client used the phrase Yes-If.

Yes-If is powerful. It accepts what our counterparts are saying. It builds on it. And it qualifies. If is a powerful word. Just ask any programmer, it’s a basic part of boolean logic.

Improv is so much about finding agreement and building on it. But product design is about finding consensus in real world applications, not in a fantasy world built on stage. We can’t blindly accept what we are told. We need to qualify it. Measure it. Hold ourselves accountable.

This is true for software “Yes, we can use the user logs if we comply with GDPR”.

This is true for parents and children, “yes, you can have dessert if you finish your vegetables”.

This is true for ourselves, “yes, I can buy the sweater if I don’t buy the shoes”.

If is a tool to measure progress. If is a tool to measure success. If is a tool to hold ourselves accountable. If is a tool to be measured in, by, and through, our actions.

Yes-And is a great exercise.

But Yes-If is great for real life.

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