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Some articles on failure. I got interested in the topic of failure of projects, specifically educational technology projects a few years ago. And more importantly, I believe that learning the lessons from projects that didn’t work, is as important as learning the lessons from what did. Back in 2006, I participated in a workshop on the subject led by Erik Duval, What Went Wrong. Unfortunately we never continued to make this a series.

  • What to do When Things Go Wrong: An excerpt from Scott Berkun’s book Making Things Happen.

    Calm down > Evaluate the problem in relation to the project > Calm down again > Get the right people in the room > Explore alternatives > Make the simplest plan > Execute > Debrief

    I’d add, make sure you’re addressing the problem and not the symptom. All of the preceding is easier said than done sometimes, certainly as I reflect on my past experiences.

  • Notes from FailCon – Part 1 and Part 2: Scott Berkun shares his notes from FailCon2012.

    Two highlights from Braden Kowitz, Google Ventures: “Pianos, Battleships, and Sneakers: Stories about Design and Failure”…

    “Design is learning through doing. Many young designers believe they are their work, and if their design fails, they fail.”

    “When you run away from failure as a designer, you get less and less feedback. Instead you should lean in to failure, because it makes the intervals of ignorance smaller.”

    And take a look at @katerutter‘s sketchnotes. From her notes on “Social Proof is Not Proof”:

    “Good entrepreneurs > Validate the problem. Bad Entrepreneurs > Validate the solution”

  • Why Things Fail: From Tires to Helicopter Blades, Everything Breaks Eventually: Robert Capps at Wired writes about failure in consumer products.

    (via O’Reilly Radar, October 30, 2012)