Learn from Experience, Not Failure

I hear and read a lot of stuff about how teams and people must fail first in order to succeed.  I’d agree with that.  What I’d prefer to see come out of the Agile community is less of the holier-than-thou “thou shalt fail before succeeding” rhetoric and more of “learn from your experiences” phrasing.  No, I’m not Mr. Sensitive, I like to think I’m Mr. Realist.  Organizations don’t want to be told they must fail first in order to succeed.  I’ve had my share of those discussions.  You know the ones where the person (or people) you’re talking to look at you like you have 3 extra heads growing out of your neck.

There was a tweet I saw today that sparked this post.  You know the ones, like: ‘learning comes from failure‘ or ‘without failure there is no learning‘.  It sure sounds poetic and intellectual, but useless nonetheless.  I feel ok to say that because I used to say stuff like that.  Maybe I just failed with that messaging and now I have learned.  I’d like to think I just have more experience now.

So for those of you preaching “for learning to happen thou shalt must hath doth fail first…” enough already.  Work is hard enough without having to be told you have to fail before figuring something out.  Experience is the key, try shit out, get feedback and rinse and repeat.  That’s all that’s really going to work.