Fail Safe, Fail Smart, Succeed

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This talk is an updated version of my earlier talk "Failing Up" that I presented at Tom Tom and at App Builders Switzerland, 2016. It's a talk about how to create a failsafe environment for software companies and teams. It's critical to acknowledge that failure is necessary for innovation. So, if failure is a given, how do you fail well?

This version of the talk was first presented at Seattle Code Camp 2016

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Fail Safe, Fail Smart, Succeed

  1. 1. Fail Safe, Fail Smart, Succeed Kevin Goldsmith, CTO @KevinGoldsmith
  2. 2. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Invention requires failure
  3. 3. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe –Albert Einstein “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” @kevingoldsmith #failsafe
  4. 4. “Failure is success training.” -Kevin Smith @kevingoldsmith #failsafe
  5. 5. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Creating a fail-safe environment
  6. 6. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Fail Smart
  7. 7. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe –Mikael Krantz "we want to be an internal combustion engine, not a fuel-air bomb. Many small controlled explosions propelling us in a generally ok direction, not a huge blast leveling half the city” Minimize the blast radius
  8. 8. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Find the fastest, cheapest path to learning. Fail fast
  9. 9. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe The lesson of Clippy
  10. 10. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe – Thomas J. Watson “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.” @kevingoldsmith #failsafe
  11. 11. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe punish not learning from failure Do not punish failure
  12. 12. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Each failure tells you something about • your process • your team • your perception of your customers • your understanding of your product • yourself Extract the lessons from failure
  13. 13. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Do project retrospectives with the intent to not only figure out what happened on the project, but with the intent to make future projects better. Extract the lessons from failure
  14. 14. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Create a shared repository of the lessons learned. Catalog the lessons
  15. 15. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Failures hidden or forgotten are failures that will be repeated. Catalog the lessons
  16. 16. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe
  17. 17. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe
  18. 18. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe
  19. 19. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe
  20. 20. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe
  21. 21. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe – Bob Sutton “The most creative people — and companies — don’t have lower failure rates, they fail faster and cheaper, and perhaps learn more from their setbacks, than their competitors.” @kevingoldsmith #failsafe
  22. 22. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Making Failure Safer
  23. 23. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Minimize the cost of failure
  24. 24. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Minimize the cost of failureInvestment Time Think it Build it Ship it Tweak it
  25. 25. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Minimize the cost of failureInvestment Time Think it Build it Ship it Tweak it
  26. 26. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Minimize the cost of failureInvestment Time Think it Build it Ship it Tweak it Paper Prototypes UI Mockups User Testing MVP Employee Testing Gradual Rollout A/B Testing User Testing Analytics Validation A/B Testing User Testing Analytics ValidationBeta
 Testing
  27. 27. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe The lesson of Spotify Now
  28. 28. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Expect failure all the time
  29. 29. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe http://techblog.netflix.com/2010/12/5-lessons-weve-learned-using-aws.html
  30. 30. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Smaller/Micro Services, loosely connected, mean smaller failures Small systems have small failures
  31. 31. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Roll new things out over time, watch how your users react, watch how your systems scale, watch your customer service queues, watch your analytics, watch your crash logs. Take your time
  32. 32. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Putting this into practice @ Avvo
  33. 33. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Creating a supportive culture
  34. 34. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Moving from planning around commitments to planning around priorities Creating a supportive culture
  35. 35. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Talk about when things don’t go well with an eye to future improvement rather than blame Creating a supportive culture
  36. 36. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Talk about when things don’t go well with an eye to future improvement rather than blame Creating a supportive culture
  37. 37. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Talk about when things don’t go well with an eye to future improvement rather than blame Creating a supportive culture
  38. 38. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Do retrospectives In your retrospectives, think beyond the current project to future projects. The goal: continuous improvement. Creating a supportive culture
  39. 39. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Monoliths are natural when a small team (or a startup) are building a product. Building lots of small services means building infrastructure to support them. The trick is knowing when it is time to make the transition. Fail-safe infrastructure
  40. 40. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe@kevingoldsmith #failsafe
  41. 41. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe –Henry Ford “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently” @kevingoldsmith #failsafe
  42. 42. @kevingoldsmith #failsafe Questions?

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