1. Our team has run into the problem of trying to get a final product the first time. We had multiple valid hypotheses, that were easy to test, and instead of testing them we debated. Also there are people who just want to build according to plan. When in reality all of our initial plans get scraped because we find a better way. On the other hand we didn't prioritize what needed to be figured out first. For example, we planed the drive train before designing the lifters. This made shoot feeding hard. Overall we should have planned what to do better and how to do it less. Finally we should have debated less and tested more.
2. I would define productivity as doing useful tasks efficiently. Productivity in terms of a robot would be utilizing resources (humans) to maximum efficiency on relevant tasks. Using this definition the team could definitely improve efficiency by using modular assemblies, and having groups test designs and theories, while others design more.
3. IMVU assumed that costumers wanted to minimize the number of IM softwares they used and that they didn't want to leave friends behind if they switched. Costumers actually used many IM programs so one more wasn't a problem. Also they wanted to meet new people online, and bringing friends was a fun challenge not a set back. IMVU could have failed faster and on a smaller scale by only making their software integrated with one other IM program.
4. Last year we tested to see if extensions were necessary for balance. We could have found this faster if we decided to test it right away, but instead of just sending in the parts for both designs we debated.
5. Procter & Gamble (P&G) assumed people would hand over laundry to have it cleaned and that they would pay more to get it back sooner. P&G tested these by making a janky laundry station to prove people would part with their laundry. Then they offered different prices for different speeds to test if people would pay more to get their laundry faster.
This book emphasizes not making assumptions and doing as little unnecessary work as possible. These to topics go hand in hand. If you test something and know it works you do way less work than if you assume and build it then it doesn't work and you have to start over. Through the many examples the author showed how this could be applied to many starts ups and businesses. The concept of doing only productive work is very important for our team because we only have 6 weeks to build a robot we need all the time we can get.