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MAY 7, 2012 5:20pm ET

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Fail Faster Flaws

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There are many who advocate that the key to success, especially with innovation, is what’s known as the “fail faster” philosophy, which says that not only should we embrace new ideas and try new things without being overly concerned with failure, but, more importantly, we should effectively fail as efficiently as possible in order to expedite learning valuable lessons from our failure.

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Comments (3)
Love your post and it is truly relevant.

In fairness to Tom Peters, there is more to the philosophy. It's more about overcoming inertia, another topic in itself:

Fail Forward Fast

It is far better to have sloppy success than to have perfect procrastination. It is easy to get caught up in the endless tinkering and perfecting of a project. It is true some things require perfection - most simply need excellence. All need action today!

Do you find yourself waiting to launch important projects? Are you forever splitting hairs about elements that are not mission critical. Do you spend hours and hours on details that don't matter much?

Start your Monday with action! In taking action you may fail - but even that failure will move you forward toward ultimate success. Pick a project you have been putting off and begin today to take the action which will accelerate your path to achievement.

~ Tom Peters

Posted by Mel H | Thursday, May 10 2012 at 10:36AM ET
Good post Jim,

I became enamored with the fail fast philosophy a few years ago after talking to Oliver Ratzesberger at e-bay. http://www.information-management.com/specialreports/2008_94/10001877-1.html

He was speaking with an analytic discovery bent of course, not the ongoing discipline of something like data governance or DQ, and at the velocity at which eBay moves, there's limited desire for static views. His quote was, "The metrics you know are cheap. The metrics you don't know are expensive but also high in potential ROI."

That doesn't apply to everyone of course, the other version of fail fast I hear comes from managers saddled by the detritus of projects stalled without enough momentum to keep driving them amid moving business priorities. That might fall more under the category of "cut as you add" but in either case, it's about resource limitations and seeing a material benefit (or moving on). You want to hedge your time to where value arises and not feel like you're doing last year's homework.

Posted by Jim E | Friday, May 11 2012 at 12:24PM ET
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