The RIGHT Way to Fail in Product Dev

by Inform IT

Over at Inform IT, veteran technology consultant Aaron Erickson discusses how businesses need to learn how to fail, a vital component, he writes, to product management and keeping your business agile.

“[This article is about] recognizing [failure] and doing something about it,” he writes. “It’s about how you can save your company hundreds of millions of dollars by killing doomed projects early, before they become ‘too big to fail.'”

In the article, Erickson discusses the reason many companies fall into the trap of massive project failure, how to identify if your project is failing and the virtues of failing fast.

After spending so much time and effort on product development and strategy, many people “loathe to let it fail.”

“People tend to want to keep a project going—against all odds—on nothing else but the basis of personal pride and ego,” he says. To avoid this, Erickson continues, it is critical to know when your project is failing. Additionally, he lists several signals to look for when your project is heading south.

– You Never Go to Production

The golden rule, Erickson writes, is to make sure that you go to production well before you become too big to fail. “If you can’t get software representing a minimum viable product (MVP) into a user’s hands prior to the investment level…you should probably cancel the project,” he says.

– Unrealistic Burn-Up

Generally, in a project that has properly ramped up and is delivering, you want to see progress that high enough to know that you aren’t just being told what you want to hear, but not so high as to make velocity going forward impossible to estimate credibly.

– Metric Deterioration – Internal Quality Loss

While some signs are visible that things are going horribly awry, hidden quality deterioration is a more insidious problem, Erickson writes. “In general, internal quality loss may not affect your ability to get to the first release but the costs of low internal quality certainly will impact later releases,” he adds.

For a more about the pitfalls of project failure and how to navigate the problem take a look at Erickson’s full post here.