Dispelling the misconceptions #6 – “Let it fail! As long as we fail fast!”

There has been lots of discussions about “failing fast” and how it’s really good and we should all be aiming for this, but I think this is stemming a massive misconception… But I’m going to try to keep this post quite short.

If we fail, then yes, I think failing fast is a pretty good idea. It means we can learn faster and correct the failure faster. No brainer.

BUT – I feel that the idea of failing fast has caused a lot of people to stop trying to PREVENT the failure from happening in the first place. I’m talking about the times when we can see failure coming and we know what the problems are, and there are people in these conditions taking a “Let it fail! As long as we fail fast!” stance.

Why fail in the first place? Why not take a preventative course of action by navigating away from the problem before we hit it, rather than ramming into it head first and then trying to have a fast turn around to learn from it.

This “let it fail as long as we fail fast” mentality, for me, is stemmed from a misunderstanding surrounding the concept of “failing fast”. In my opinion, learning fast from failure is the right idea when we do fail, but not having that preventative mindset regarding failure is the wrong attitude to have.

I think we should all be active in trying to change the terminology to “learning fast”. That might help get rid of this misconception. 🙂

3 thoughts on “Dispelling the misconceptions #6 – “Let it fail! As long as we fail fast!”

  1. Nice article Dan. I think it is worth to fail if failure will teach us something. Agile and lean practices need us learning fast, if to learn you need to fail then good. Failing for the sake of failing when we know already everything about that failure is shooting yourself in the foot, and you don’t want that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I believe that this statement “let it fail as long as we fail fast” is not full extent. While researching failing I have stumbled upon the Palchinsky Principles:

    1. Try lots of things, expecting many to fail.
    2. Make sure the failures are survivable.
    3. Learn from the failures.

    To me this makes more sense than fail fast.


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