Even though there are bad forms of failure such as workers or managers who are inattentive or lack competence, there are also positive types of failure such as experimenting and testing out new ideas that may ultimately fail. The concept of fail fast and embracing failure entails testing new ideas and innovating on current strategies. Such failures will essentially lead to more knowledge and new innovations. After all, it was Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, who said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Along with embracing a culture of experimentation, it is essential for managers to work on the typical failures of workplace conflict and other challenges they are likely to face. This article will discuss ways that managers can better handle conflict within the work environment.
The topics below will be covered to help you better understand how to fail fast and embrace a culture of experimentation.
- Fast Failure Leads to Achieving Desired Outcomes Quickly
- Why Iterations are Imperative for Greater Success
- How Company Leaders Can Implement the Fail Fast Process
- How to Manage Workplace Conflict and Other Challenges
- Project Management Software Enables the Fail Fast Process
Fast Failure Leads to Achieving Desired Outcomes Quickly
According to a Forbes article, repeating the fast failure approach has been shown to help companies achieve a desired outcome faster than attempting to perfect the product or service on the first try. Essentially, it is nearly impossible to perfectly predict, control, or remove variance from the equation.
Eventually, the time and money spent on reducing variance will overcome the benefits of this process. Additionally, in the ever-changing technological environment of today, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what needs to be measured in order to reduce variance. Therefore, it is not possible to control aspects that cannot be measured. A such, experimentation and repeating the fail fast approach is a much better process for companies to take part in.
An article from VentureBeat provides an example. Assume that you are creating a product and you do not know whether users should give a lot of information before having access to it. You could either talk to plenty of people in your industry, take note of all the different opinions, analyze these opinions, make decisions, work on the product roadmap, develop the product, test the product and release it. On the other hand, you can get a product out there, fail fast, learn from your mistakes, pivot, and get a slightly different but better product out on the market.
The speed at which a company innovates tends to be more important than perfect execution in today’s fast-paced business environment. For example, those who spent a lot of time perfecting a solution to a problem, may find that another organization already swooped in to solve that problem or the issue may have changed, which would make your product unnecessary.
Essentially, fast failure entails making a product that is satisfactory, bringing it to market, receiving customer feedback, improving the product based on feedback, and repeating the process all over again. This process can help company leaders and innovators learn much more than if they spent too long attempting to perfect the first model. You’ll also find that repeating the process of experimentation will lead to more success in the long run.
Why Iterations are Imperative for Greater Success
Innovation is more likely to happen in companies where employees are given the chance to experiment, fail, and learn from past mistakes. When learning through this process, workers figure out how to adapt and respond to the problems before them by continually changing their behavior and patterns.
You will see that iterations using the fail fast process will build momentum for your teams. A positive feedback loop will be generated as more workers implement a culture of experimentation. This momentum will build up and lead to significant innovations for your company including the potential for your solutions to go viral on social media.
Radical innovations are often begun through errors and failures, the Forbes article explains. If you use the fail fast approach, you’ll find team members working together to provide diverse thoughts and opinions on fixing a problem or tweaking a product. Each time a product undergoes experimentation, more momentum is gained toward truly innovating the market.
This is especially useful for the information technology (IT) industry where a positive feedback loop that comes from reiteration can greatly amplify and add momentum toward innovation. For instance, some IT tools can lead to the creation of newer and more applicable software programs. Experimentation in the IT industry can bring new ideas and provide even more innovations.
Now that we understand why iteration and experimentation lead to greater success, it is vital for managers and executives to properly implement this process.
How Company Leaders Can Implement the Fail Fast Process
Since managers are often used to a culture where failure isn’t accepted, it is a great sign when a leader is able to embrace a culture of fast failure. An effective company leader understands that failure is necessary for radical innovation. The following four steps are necessary to help you as a manager properly implement the fast fail process.
- Create a work environment where employees are free to experiment and work on their own ideas
- Assign moderately challenging projects for employees to complete to the best of their ability
- Embrace failure as a necessity in the search for true innovation
- Create a safe and fast way to fail at your place of business
Essentially, these steps will help you undertake this process and improve learning throughout your team so that innovation can begin to grow. Forbes also reported on some other strategies employers and managers should take to create a culture of fast failure at their company.
First, it is important to focus on the process and learning instead of solely outcomes. If employees perceive a project as an opportunity to learn instead of merely achieve success, research shows that the results tend to be better. It is also beneficial to have more workers complete smaller experiments so that more people can be involved in the experimentation process.
As the manager, be sure to offer plenty of feedback. This can help stimulate learning. Lowering the cost of failure is also important, which can be completed by prototyping through physical or computer models. Additionally, be sure to encourage workers to communicate their ideas and take calculated risks. Lastly, it is beneficial for managers and company leaders to create a space where ideas from different domains and departments can be combined to create new innovations.
When attempting to have teams working together toward innovation, there are bound to be challenges. Below we discuss how managers can solve workplace disputes and conflicts as well as other challenges.
How to Manage Workplace Conflict and Other Challenges
There are many reasons why conflict may arise in the workplace stemming from miscommunication to incompatible personalities. Company leaders can resolve disputes and manage conflict in the workplace by creating clear channels of communication, listen to both parties to better understand the conflict using a “human” perspective, and work toward a compromise between the two parties.
In addition, there are some other challenges that may pop up, especially for a first time manager. One potential issue is that the manager may not understand the changes and intricacies they will have with their subordinates. Another issue is that managers may put their schedule ahead of the employees’ schedules and have difficulty with compromising with their team. Micromanaging your team could also pose a problem since many workers do not enjoy having someone looking over their shoulder every step of the way.
Ways to address some of these challenges include first learning to manage different projects and clients who have differing schedules, which can help you work better with your team. Additionally, if you want to avoid micromanaging, you can learn to add some diversity to your ideas and views. This will help you trust employees to complete their work using their own viewpoints. You’ll benefit from understanding that other people can have ideas just as good or better than your own.
Another way to ensure your team works well together and has the chance to take part in a fast failure process is to implement project management software.
Project Management Software Enables the Fail Fast Process
You will find that utilizing project management software such as the Runrun.it tool will help teams quickly organize prototyping steps using computer models and send products out quickly as well as tweak any ideas in case of failure.
Work tracking software will help create more collaboration across your team to gain innovative ideas while keeping communication clear and minimizing bottlenecks within the workflow. With this type of software, your team will be motivated to succeed. Click here to learn more.