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Steve Hallman
Steve Hallman

Posted on • Originally published at theagilecouch.com on

The Value of Failure

Success and Failure work together. I always remember Adam Savage on MythBusters saying β€œFailure is always an option!”

Everything in custom software development is an experiment. The actual code is an experiment. The feature has an unknown value to the end users. The product is a hypothesis about business value. The processes we use to produce working software is composed of many experiments.

What we want isn’t β€œsuccess”, because that’s not a thing you can directly acquire. Otherwise we would walk into the Success store and just say β€œGive me $200 worth of success please”.

We have to attempt success. Which means failure and success are possible outcomes of each tiny experiment. High performing people, teams, organizations are those that experiment often, earlier, and in smaller increments.

Failure isn’t an end state. It’s not comprehensive, unless you allow it. Failures are way-points along a continual journey. If you can fail as early as possible, with a tiny loss, many times, you gain information on how to pursue your path forward. We’re a bit like submarines, pinging a blind landscape to move forward. Success and failures help us see the terrain and navigate the path toward success.

Failures are exactly as valuable as successes.

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