You can learn more from failure than success…

Monday August 23, 10

You can learn more from failure than success. In failure you’re forced to find out what part did not work. But in success you can believe everything you did was great, when in fact some parts may not have worked at all. Failure forces you to face reality.

Fred Brooks

I was reading an article on wired.com about designing and Fred Brooks Monday.  It struck me that design theory for technology industry is true in sport as well.

I’ll be debriefing a number of athletes after this past weekend’s triathlon National Championships. As a coach, I need to acknowledge the failures in order to help athletes improve.  At the same time, I need to recognize and reward success.  Its a delicate balance.

The toughest part in sport is contextual interpretation of results.  Was a poor performance really a poor performance? Or did everyone do poorly that day?  Was it wind, rain, temperature, course changes, etc.?  Similarly, was an excellent truly excellent? Or was everyone faster?

Separating facts from fiction and evidence from distractions is critical in the debrief.

I especially like the following  thoughts;

  • The critical thing about the design process is to identify your scarcest resource.
  • start with a vision not a list of features
  • You build a quick prototype and get it in front of users to see what they do with it.
  • constant incremental iterations

As I plan 2011, I’ll keep these ideas in mind- especially the first two.

Alan

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