Agile - Fail Fast, Fail Forward
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Agile – Fail Fast, Fail Forward

Agile Silicon Valley Companies have this motto: Fail Fast, Fail Forward. Here’s how it applies to Lean Six Sigma:

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and the QI Macros [software].

“I was out at the ASQ World Conference this year and I was observing this guy talking about exponential growth, and he was saying that in Silicon Valley they have a motto: “Fail Fast, Fail Forward.”

“Now I think everybody worries about failing in their first project or whatever it is. No, “fail fast, fail forward,” that’s the Agile approach to things: Rapid iteration to converge on a better world, right? If you want to still be around in the next four or five or six years (your company, that is), we’re going to have to accelerate how we do all of this. It’s going to have to go exponential; we can’t go incremental any more. That’s, I think, the shift that’s going on.

“Now in Agile we talk about a Sprint, and in Quality Improvement we talk about a Kaizen, right? Same game, different name, right? So don’t get overly concerned. I think Sprint is a better word because sometimes Kaizen has a big-event kind of [connotation] to it. I mean you can Sprint in an afternoon: I sprinted in afternoons and gotten dramatic results.

“Let’s think about accelerating how we do it – rapid iteration, rapid learning, rapid application of the tools and techniques, right? Let’s just get on it, because I think that that is where we’re going. If we’re not going there and we’re not going there fast, we’re not going to be in business. Our leadership teams will not listen to us, so our task is to go out there and engage in making improvements and stop waiting. Don’t wait for permission, don’t wait for leadership support, start improving something. You may hit roadblocks… so what? You’re always going to hit roadblocks. Duh! So what? Move on! Keep going. Hey, just ignore it. I mean it’s just… it’s that crazy.

“So that’s my Improvement Insight for this week. Let’s go out and improve something this week, next week, the week after that and forever.”