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Looking for Failure

Looking for Failure

Failure provides critical feedback, but we're conditioned to avoid it at all costs and forget it quickly when it happens. How can we challenge this natural human bias? I've spent the last couple years digging into "pop" psychology and thinking about how books like "Thinking Fast and Slow", "Antifragile", "Drive", "Blink", and "Outliers" apply in a software development environment. I'm most excited about this idea that if we can make failure "safe" then we can use it to learn things that we would otherwise be tempted to avoid and ignore because it might go badly. A focus on failure, both deliberate and accidental, has been beneficial in moving my projects beyond the no defects, 100% test coverage type focus and towards finding innovative ways to detect and quickly reverse failure. This is not a perseverance, "Fail fast" or failure-fetish message, but more around the idea that failure is as good as success if your goal is to improve - so stop avoiding it! My ideal outcome is to get people talking about this idea of failing purposefully and see where it goes.



May 05, 2017

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  1. Looking for Failure @stevejxsn

  2. I’m @stevejxsn steve@testdouble.com

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  4. Takeaways • Failure as a learning aid • Reactions to

    failure • Hypotheses • Making safe places
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  16. Option 1: IGNORE

  17. Option 2: REFRAME

  18. Option 3: DEFLECT

  19. Option 4: AVOID

  20. Option 5: I WILL FAIL

  21. Premortem "Imagine that we are a year into the future.

    We implemented the plan as it now exists. The outcome was a disaster. Please take 5-10 minutes to write a brief history of that disaster."
  22. Hypothesis Embrace failure to avoid Regret Avoidance

  23. Regret Avoidance

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  36. http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2011/153/d/f/the_scientific_method_by_jackcomstock- d3hv0yo.jpg

  37. Define Fail Fail Refactor Pass Pass Acceptance Test Developer Test

  38. •Define success criteria •Define failure criteria •Strive to end the

    meeting Meetings
  39. Hypothesis Express goals to avoid Reframing

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  41. Hypothesis Antifragile software is easy to change

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  44. Antifragile

  45. https://www.flickr.com/photos/tpapi/2765541278

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  48. Hypothesis Debt makes you vulnerable

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  50. Hypothesis Local failures over global failures

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  54. Hypothesis Reverse expected failure to learn how to reverse random

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  58. Failure as a non-event

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  77. Hypothesis Blame prevents innovation

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  80. Hypothesis Failure is easier in safe spaces

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  84. What do you celebrate?

  85. Which failures do you acknowledge?

  86. What gets discussed in the open?

  87. What exceptions do you make? Which ones do you never

  88. What is your tolerance for failure?

  89. What do you say about people outside your team during

    challenging situations?
  90. Law Change is inevitable Resistance is futile

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  95. Success Failure

  96. Failure Success

  97. Failure Success

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  99. I’m @stevejxsn steve@testdouble.com Thanks!