The Secret to Failing

Is to fail fast.

In Agile, it is Okay to fail, the key is to do it effectively. Simply put, when you try new things, you need to experiment ideas, try and test to see if they work. If they do not, learn from it, retry or move on. Here's how.

How to fail fast

The secret is in the Scrum framework...
Photo by Ian Kim on Unsplash

Start with the Scrum framework

First, lets look at a very high level the scrum framework, and how failing fast fits in.
  1. Product owner prioritizes the backlog.
  2. Every sprint (let's say two weeks or so) your team develops and tests solutions for the backlog items until they are done and ready for use.
  3. At end of two weeks team demonstrates completed work to stakeholders.
  4. Then team reflects on how the work went at a meeting called a retrospective and then they decide what they can do to improve their work practices.
This process allows the team to learn from failing fast and more importantly learning fast.

Use Modern Agile framework to fail fast more rapidly with quicker feedback loops

Another awesome agile framework is Modern Agile. 
Failing fast is a significant component of Modern Agile. Using the four values of Modern Agile make it easier for experimentation and learning easier to do and master!

The Experiment and Learn Rapidly value is a guiding principle as it helps prevent us from wasting time; it enables us to uncover success faster. Moreover, the experiments we can do allow a “safe to fail” environment.

In the words of Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos:
“We are working on much bigger failures right now.”
He is proud of Amazon being a safe place to fail.

Key points for failing fast

  • When we get stuck or aren’t learning enough, take it as a sign that we need to run more experiments. 
  • Be quick about it, speed is key!
  • Fail fast and then quickly move on the next experiment. 
  • Experimenting and learning rapidly helps us achieve continuous improvement.

Want to know more?

Until next time, keep it agile!