Experimentation management and failing well

The current mentality in startup culture is to move fast and break things, to follow agile and fail and pivot.

But I think this is an over simplification, it’s not wrong, it’s vague.

Failure isn’t a path to success, but the path to success is made up for failures.

So the question is, how to we fail, deliberately, directionally, and fail well?

For all the methods and ebooks and famous writers talking about innovation. At the heart of it is the scientific method –

The scientific method

  1. Make an observation. Identify assumptions. 
  2. Ask a question.
  3. Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
  4. Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
  5. Test the prediction.
  6. Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.

We can layer on top of this –

Between stage 3 and 4 – we should also Rank our assumptions/ observations/ hypothesis. 

This step is crucial, since time and money are always a premium, we’re not here to explore every path, but prioritise and focus on the path this has both the highest probability of success as well as the highly likelihood of impact for the business.

The process of failing and being agile isn’t passive, its not about accepting failure, but about being deliberate in how we prepare for failure and how we respond to failure. Failing well isn’t about encouraging failiure or avoiding failure, but about being deliberate in how we manage through failure to drive positive change.

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