When All Fails

Yesterday we talked about test-driven customer development. You start by writing a set of tests that fail because you haven’t created something to make it possible for them to happen. Then you start making the smallest possible improvements until your hypotheses start to prove to be true.

Making small improvements until you are successful is one thing, but what happens when you find out that your hypothesis is completely wrong? What if the path you have taken is a failure?

If you find out that your current path is a failure, it is time to pivot. A pivot is a significant change in the direction that you are taking. An iteration in your strategy is a small course correction to keep you within your lane on the highway that you are on. A pivot is when you get off the highway and decide to take a different road altogether.

Complete failure doesn’t mean that you have lost everything. If you have travelled down the highway for a while, you have that experience that can contribute to the next project. If you take a completely different direction, you can bring what you learned from your various industries to a completely different framework.

Failure is never final; it is just a chance to pivot to the next success.