Two Lessons to Learn from IT Failures

Innovation requires failure. IT leaders recognize this and budget accordingly. Effective IT leaders provide the time and resources required for R&D. They expect that their innovators will experiment and fail in the pursuit of a successful product. Employees are empowered, given room to experiment, and are not punished for failure.

However, certain failures are not budgeted for and are preventable. For example, a wrong decision concerning the choice of supplier or a breach of data security can have substantial fiscal consequences. A recent article by Rich Hein for IT News, offers lessons from IT mistakes that companies may find useful.

  • Create a safe-to-fail environment that avoids the “blame game.” Instead, adopt a team approach to problem analysis and problem solving. A supportive structure will encourage employees to take risks rather than be reluctant to experiment for fear of failure. Companies that adopt such a strategy encourage teamwork and employees will help others to ensure success. The team accepts the responsibility for failure but also accepts the achievements.
  • A company’s reaction to a failure is everything. React badly, and additional errors will compound the situation. A better approach is to analyze what went wrong, have processes in place to do so, and develop strategies to avoid the same mistake in the future. The world is constantly changing, and processes must be constantly adapted.

A culture where leaders accept and own-up to their mistakes will encourage the same in their employees. If a mistake is less threatening, the environment can be healthier and more transparent. Additionally, early acknowledgement of mistakes can ensure early resolution to problems.

Ensure that project analysis is performed before, during, and after project completion. Encourage employees to provide their feedback and to suggest changes to improve processes. Each project is an opportunity for improvement whether it was a success or a failure. This may include accusations of poor communication from task leaders or management. Everybody must be willing to accept negative feedback along with the positive.

Contact an A&A Search professional to discuss your current and future project staffing needs.