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Experimentation Means it’s OK to Fail
Experimentation Means it’s OK to Fail

Experimentation is the key to learning and continuous learning is the core of Agile and iterative methods.  A wise man once told me that we know the least about our product and the optimum process to build that product when we first start. I could never (or never wanted to) argue that point. When we are at crossroads facing an unknown path, experimentation lets us understand which avenue is best. 

Experimentation means to find that path wisely. Don’t get into analysis paralysis. Here are some suggestions to make your experiments a success:

  1. Make your experiments iterative so that the lessons from the initial ones can be used to plan and create the next ones. 
  2. Make your experiments short and tactical so that you can learn quickly about what works, and more importantly, what doesn’t work. 
  3. Finally, and most crucially, an experiment that fails is just as important as one that succeeds.  The answer will guide you on how to proceed from that point. Don’t be tempted to think that a set of experiments that ‘fail’ aren’t a success. The experiments simply yielded an answer. 

If you have more suggestions on how to conduct a good experiment in your environment, feel free to post them in the comments. In addition, if you’ve learned something that changed the way you work through experimentation, please share it with us.