Fail Fast

Monday, February 5, 2024 | Strategy

Surjit Bharath

Director of Hidden Foundry

Optimizely Most Valued Professional (OMVP), Subject Matter Expert (SME), CMS and Commerce certified

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"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."

It is the nature of a developer to deliver features directly according to the requirements. Word for word. Any assumptions or misinterpretations are raised as a discussion, which must then be documented and agreed upon. This is exactly the right approach and the kind of attitude we expect from our budding developers.

This meticulous attention to detail also needs to be balanced with the value the feature is bringing to the table. This value could be absolute, such as a password reset functionality, or it can be opinionated, stemming from a stakeholder who believes the feature will provide a return on investment (ROI) based on their experiences. However, the real test of measuring this value only comes when the feature is delivered, working, and returning results.

Time and again, development teams have dedicated months to refining a feature, driven by the belief that its returns would vastly outweigh the investment made in its creation. However, the reality upon launch often tells a different story, revealing that the underlying assumptions about the feature's value and appeal were misplaced. The remedy to this common pitfall lies in accelerating the feedback loop, a process achieved by embracing the principle of failing faster. By shortening the cycle between conception and feedback, teams can gain immediate insights into the viability of their ideas. This swift acquisition of knowledge is pivotal, allowing them to reassess and enhance their initial assumptions. In doing so, not only is the original vision sharpened, but the feature itself is evolved in a way that more accurately aligns with market needs and user expectations.

Fail fast. Aim to release your features as soon as possible. Start with the most basic version of your product, known as the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and then gradually add more features. This method speeds up the whole development process and makes sure you quickly get feedback on your feature. Learning from any mistakes or misjudgments happens faster, enabling you to make changes or improvements sooner. Every assumption about how customers might use the feature is tested through this direct feedback. This strategy of quick testing and getting feedback early helps companies figure out fast if a new feature will be a hit or a miss. It acknowledges that not everything we try will work out, but there’s a lot to learn from things that don’t go as planned.

Launching a feature when it’s good enough but not perfect lets businesses quickly see what works and what doesn’t. Companies that are great at making changes based on what their customers tell them can stay ahead of their competitors. It’s about making smart changes and improvements, turning what might seem like a setback into a chance for significant betterment and fitting the market more precisely. For any business trying to meet the complex demands of the market and keep customers happy, being able to learn quickly from setbacks and adjust is not just helpful—it’s absolutely necessary for lasting success.

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