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Jag Reehals thinking on things, mostly product development

Innovation Redefined: from 'Fail Fast' to 'Learn Fast'

21 Nov 2023

Inspect and adapt loops are the heart of agile development. They enable continuous learning, improvement, and evolution.

Learn Fast

In this post, I discuss the limitations of the "fail fast" approach and propose a more impactful alternative: "learn Fast". This mindset embraces the inevitability of failure in innovation and transforms every challenge into a learning opportunity.

People are perpetual learners. Each product and feature is an opportunity for learning and growth. The more we learn, the more we grow. The more we grow, the more we learn. It's a virtuous cycle.

While both principles encourage innovation and aim to have the same outcome, only one principle will make good things great, where every iteration is another lesson learned.

💔 Fail Fast

Fail fast minimises the time and resources spent on something that ultimately won't work or deliver value. Detecting as soon as possible on when an assumption or bet isn't working out requires judgment.

This judgement is critical to reducing waste, in this case, time and energy.

How the judgement is made should be decided up front and could include factors such as price, suitability, applicability, complexity, compatibility and adaptability.

🚀 Learn Fast

Learning fast is all about making it work, making it right, and making it fast.

It's where successful teams have a continuous discovery process where they always identify new opportunities to deliver value.

It's not a one-off but continuous, not reactive but proactive, not limited but infinite.

Learn Fast in Practice

In the next post, I'll describe how learning fast is applied in practice.

agile lean learning mvp