Why it’s good to fail

Win early, and win often is the best option but if you are going to fail then … fail early. Rob Adams, author of ‘If you build it will they come’, and many others including startup guru, Steve Blank, advise businesses to get out there and learn. Don’t refine things to the nth degree then launch, the market may have passed you by, or indeed your product may not meet customer’s expectations.

Everyone likes to win: “winning isn’t everything it’s the only thing” is a saying that comes to mind. But sometimes failing is the best way to win; quite logical when you think about it. The learning’s from failure will help ensure the next output is more likely to succeed.

So use market validation as the critical first step. This may mean an initial ‘fail’ and return to the drawing board to develop another idea to be tested on the market. But it’s better to fail early, than later with a full on product launch!

That doesn’t mean that you should plan to fail, but rather the time involved in planning and getting product to market are minimised knowing that there will be further iterations. In summary, once the product is in the market, move aggressively to figure out what’s needed to further penetrate the market, and quickly bring the updated version to market. By developing and shipping a series of minimally featured products at a rapid pace, you will receive regular feedback to utilise in future iterations. This approach is far more efficient than a longer development cycle while your market is shifting.

Some other ways to structure this approach are:

  • Market validation should be performed by a cross functional team supporting the product but led by product management
  • Recruit design partners (including those with real world user input)
  • Allocate 60 days to the market validation before starting to build your product
  • 5-10% of development budget should be allocated to this pre production stage.

An approach like this will validate the opportunity. You can then develop a product that has the minimally acceptable features and the level of quality to meet market standards while getting to market asap.

Go 2 Market principle: getting it right first time isn’t critical, but getting it right is. Embrace failure as part of a method to generate success.

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