19 June 2009

FIST & Failure

As I run around talking with people about the FIST (Fast, Inexpensive, Simple, Tiny) approach to developing new technologies & systems, I continue to learn and discover new aspects of it. My most recent ah-ha moment had to do with the way FIST projects fail.

I'd already written extensively about the fact that FISTy projects fail better (i.e. they cost less and teach more than a big, expensive, complex project). But another benefit is that FIST failures are easier to admit, and that's kind of huge.

Admitting the project failed can be difficult. But, because FIST projects use small budgets, short schedules and small teams, a FIST failure involves a relatively low degree of loss. That makes it less challenging emotionally to say "Hey, that one didn't work out." And when we make it easier for people to admit they discovered a dead-end, we make it easier for them to be honest and report the truth. We take away some of the incentives to dissemble and provide overly optimistic assessments.

I think that's kinda important.

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