What fail fast really is

Fail fast approach is based on the belief that whenever a new idea or approach is in the exploration stage, multiple options and possibilities must be tried out. It is very much possible that certain options might not produce the desired outcomes or may fail. The fail fast philosophy rests on the premise that the sooner an option fails, the better it is as then that possibility can be safely ruled out and we can proceed testing others.

Fail fast technique encourages you to try and test many many possibilities and permutations and combinations, regardless of the outcome. The central idea is that you must work passionately and be focused while performing the tests. Also, fail fast approach emphasizes on conducting the tests as a team rather than working in isolation to reduce time spent and effort.

The approach of fail fast coexists and enhances the efficiency when used in conjunction with the traditional techniques of strategy, risk-taking and analyses. For instance, you may plan to start your business in a certain industry and would have conducted market studies and research. You may have enough data to draw meaningful insights and start executing. It is here that the strategy and fail fast would augment each-other. The fail fast philosophy helps testing the strategy and ascertaining ‘quickly’ whether the approach to start a business in the respective industry would work or not.

The fail fast approach can be integrated into the strategy of the process:

Form a set of choices

Convert the challenges or issues into mutually exclusive choices to deal with the problem.

Create options

Chalk out the list of all possible options or possibilities.

Formulate conditions

Generate the conditions which must hold good for the possibilities to reach a viable solution.

Check for barriers

Identify the barriers to implementing the choices or approaches.

Conduct tests

Perform tests on the data based on the design criteria.

Select the best

Based on the outcome of the tests, choose the best that is feasible.

A well-thought out strategy must be in place to implement the fail fast approach.

Best practices for fail fast approach to work

  • Leadership support must be available to encourage the team members to explore new ideas and that they should feel assured that their jobs or careers are not at risk even if an idea fails. One amazing example where this practice was deployed and was a success was in the case of Pune based startup, Pixaflip technologies. The Pixaflip team received constant support and encouragement from their seniors and that boosted them to experiment newer methods which resulted in the creation of awesome products such as Acadflip and Flipgrad. Visit www.pixaflip.in to know more on these products.
  • Transparency at work is crucial. Even if certain outcomes fail, those ideas must be shared with everyone to encourage learning.