In Defense of Failing Fast
What’s the best idea you’ve ever had? Something you truly believe would be a great product or service, if only you had the time and resources to build it out just as you envision? Well, frankly, your idea probably isn’t that great, but it can become great by failing fast. Failing fast is the idea […]
What’s the best idea you’ve ever had? Something you truly believe would be a great product or service, if only you had the time and resources to build it out just as you envision? Well, frankly, your idea probably isn’t that great, but it can become great by failing fast. Failing fast is the idea that testing, failing, and iterating leads to better, faster results versus trying to execute perfectly on the initial attempt. Some ideas need a few tweaks to reach their full potential, while others are just beyond hope. It’s not always initially obvious though!
Know Your Limits
Regardless of your employer or team structure, it’s likely you do not have unlimited people, money, or time. You need to maximize all of these assets to the best of your ability. The absolute worst way to do that is to sink a bulk of your resources into an idea that ends up being a flop. Conversely, if you realize early on that this project or feature isn’t going to be worth the lift, you’re able to pivot and put those resources to better use.
We all know how quickly the tech industry is evolving and how business environments are becoming more and more complex. If you’re spending countless hours trying to perfect a concept or idea by the time you’ve come up with your “perfect idea,” the situation could have easily changed already and now you need to spend more time conceptualizing.
Embracing the MVP
Now you may be thinking, “Okay, this sounds great. Let’s fail fast, but how do we go about actually doing that?” Two words: GOOD ENOUGH. In the software development world, this is better known as the MVP (minimum viable product). Your MVP should contain just the most basic, fundamental functionality of your application. This allows your customers to understand the core of what you are providing, enabling them to provide the market feedback you need to determine whether or not it is worthy of more time and resources.
As you and your team are scoping out what your MVP should look like, now is the time where no idea is a bad idea. Get everything out in the open. Let the team analyze and experiment with these ideas. Testing the riskiest aspects of a project in the initial stages of development allows the project to become more predictable moving forward.
Keep It Agile
The final point I want to make as it relates to failing fast is the idea of how valuable iteration is to your organization. The more your team fails and iterates, the more they continue to learn how to best adapt. Incremental, continual iteration creates positive feedback loops which will only quicken over time.
Failing fast can sound maybe a little reckless on the surface, especially if you need to meet deadlines and are in the middle of a big feature development. But once you take the plunge and allow you and your team the ability to fail, learn, and adapt, your output and production will only take off!