Monday, April 30, 2007

Learning efficiently from failures

There does not seem to be very many lessons to be learned from sucsessful projects according to an article in IEEE Spectrum. From failures on the other hand you can always learn a lot.

Being efficient, you should at least try to learn from your own mistakes. On an organizational level it would make sense if everybody was able to learn from all mistakes done in the whole organisation. On a global level it would make sense to try to learn from all mistakes evere made. Access to information is however limited, and there is probably not enough time to get familiar with all failures in your domain.

If you cover up the mistakes, chanses are that somebody will have to experience the same problems again. Opening up your experiences for other to learn from can help others in your organisation to become more sucessful. Getting comments and feedback from others will further more make you see more clearly what the the problem was and even come up with better solutions to avoid similar problems in the future.

However, nobody likes to admit failure. I think organisations must become more able to accept and tolerate small falures, and start to encourage people to learn from failure in stead of covering up. If failures are detected and admitted at an early stage there is time to prevent the big failure that probably is lying ahead. Big failures are anyway difficult or impossible to cover up.

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