Failure is Innovation at Work

Back to it, gang. The new year has settled in and many of us have already botched our resolution. I’m guilty of it too but how do you make the most of the situation? LEARN! Analyze where things went wrong and redeploy now. Now is the time. There is no better time than now.

If you are familiar with the tech space we can equate this comparison of analyzing and reacting in real-time to an agile environment.

Today, in many technology companies, the agile methodology is the process utilized to maintain continuous feedback, engagement with internal and external stakeholders, understanding of needs, and the development of a plan to achieve a goal(s) set by the collective group. These deliverables (known as ‘sprints’ or ‘iterations’) are predetermined periods of time, ranging from one to four weeks, in which this goal must be completed to keep on track with the end goal.

Lets compare Agile to another way of thinking and see the different ways to achieve a goal.

Group ‘A’ looks at a five day week. Collectively they put their heads together during a 3-4 hour meeting on Monday, discuss needs, feedback, a goal, and a deadline of Friday. Each team member understands what they contribute and prepare for a Friday deliverable by going in different directions and reconnecting Friday to share their findings/creations. During this time they have not had the opportunity to formally meet as a group and discuss progress.

Group ‘B’ looks at a five day calendar. Collectively they put their heads together for 60-minutes Monday morning to discuss needs, feedback, a goal, and a deadline. Just like above, they have a deadline but rather than Friday the group has agreed on smaller tasks to complete then reconvene each morning for 30-minutes to align goals and agree that the direction they are traveling supports the larger goal. Once an agreement is reached, individuals continue on their deliverables that drives the collective group towards the end goal.

Group ‘B’ in this situation is what many would deem an agile environment. While there are countless intricacies to the methodology and the value behind it, we just scratched the surface in an attempt to translate it to daily life.

While you dictate which type of methodology you follow, always think about the value of a different approach. If you are traditionally an agile thinker that has hit a slow spot, shake it up and look bigger picture. If you are traditionally a big picture person that has hit a snag, break it in to bite size goals that align with your overall goal to see how it works for you.

Agile and failure go so well together because running in to an issue in this type of environment is easier to absorb since the larger deliverable is broken in to small ones with continual feedback in short loops. Discovering failures is encouraged in an attempt to improve the end product. Learning from these shortcomings gives value to these failures and teaches you what not to do.

Questions or additions? Comment below.

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