Friday, March 23, 2012

If you are going to fail, fail fast.

On my return flight from SFO earlier this month I read the “The Lean Startup” book. Its advice on short feedback loop, validated learning and pivot resonated with me. As I thought more about the topic I realized how a lot of teams that practice Scrum/Agile, follow it only for delivering the specified requirements.

What is not included in many teams Scrum/Agile loop are requirements. What if a product was delivered on time, with specified features and its quality was superb-and it was a failure. It doesn’t matter whether Scrum or Agile was used to deliver a product that didn’t have the features the market wanted.

We need to accept that Product Managers are fallible like everyone else.  Even with all the market research, competitive analysis, domain knowledge,  and out of the box thinking too many products fail. We need PMs to be challenged and assume that the specified requirements are wrong-until they are validated by Mr. Market.
In software testing we know the value of failing fast. Fail fast should also be applied to other aspects to business. With fail fast all requirements would be validated by Product Managers before they are actually built and delivered.

The challenge is how we get Mr. Market to validate requirements that won’t be released in another few years. That is a topic for another day-while I mull over it.