Fail better

BECKETTAs Samuel Beckett wrote, in Worstward Ho:

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Acknowledging the fact that we surely don’t really want our project to fail, what does failing better actually mean?

It’s surely about openness – in other words, admitting that things didn’t go to plan, and having a frank discussion about what went wrong – so that everyone can learn from it and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Often projects that don’t quite succeed are brushed under the carpet and never mentioned again, or worse, spun to pretend that everything was hunky dory.

Here’s a lovely example of openness around failure from Chris Poole, the legendary moot of 4chan fame, discussing what went wrong with his company that made the Drawquest app:

With that said, life goes on, and the best path forward is not a wounded one, but a more learned and motivated one. I’m definitely not itching to start another company any time soon—it will take time to decompress and reflect on the events of the past four years—but I hope that if I do some day decide to pursue a new dream, I’ll be in a much better position to. After all, I did just receive a highly selective, four-year education for a mere $3.6 million dollars! (I find humor helps as well.)

So when reviewing a project which perhaps didn’t turn out as expected, rather than covering things up, or apportioning blame, try to fail a bit better. Identity what went wrong, and how it could have been avoided – and tell people about it.

Link roundup

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Bookmarks for March 16th through March 18th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.