Last year I had a post called Mistakes: The Core of Agility. In this post I discussed the fact that being agile means we accept the fact that mistakes happen. We have to be willing and able to talk about our mistakes and learn from them. Making mistakes should not be discouraged. Mistakes can be seen as failure so we have to find ways to make failure acceptable and turn our failures into learning opportunities, not punishable events. When we punish them, they will still happen, but no one will want to take responsibility and talk about them, so likely no learning will occur.
There was a great post over on ThoughtWorks blog the other day that described a culture hack called “Failure Cake” that seems like a great way to make failure an acceptable occurrence. When failure does occur, the person or team responsible accepts ownership, then buys a cake for the team and brings it in. While everyone is enjoying some Failure Cake the team discusses the mistake, potential changes to make to avoid the mistake in the future, and everyone learns.
When you experience failure the best way to make it taste better is eating a slice of Failure Cake!
Of course, as with any culture change, it takes support from the top, so getting your leadership team to participate in the ritual is important. Check out the full article over at ThoughtWorks for more details.
The image at the top of this post, “FailureCake”, is a derivative of “thought that counts? <3” by Heather, used under CC BY. “The Importance of Visibility” is licensed under CC BY-SA by Development Block, LLC.