First slide
When creating something new, it can be helpful to consider how it could fail in the future. Imagining various scenarios down the road provides you with the opportunity to work backwards to your current point in time.
  • 1. Imagine six or even twelve months out from now.
    If your current project were to fail, what might cause the failure? Why would this happen? How might you work backwards from that point of failure and prevent this outcome?
  • 2. Identify the biggest possible failure points from what you imagined.
    Now identify possible ways to prevent or contain the failure. Keeping cycles can help minimizing damage should something go wrong. If something does go wrong, use it as an opportunity to learn.
  • 3. Brace yourself for when things go wrong.
    Put systems into place to check yourself and what you are doing. If you have a blind spot, figure out how to get it covered. Maybe someone else on your team has a nice set of complementary skills. Work with them. Plan for failure but welcome success.
  • 4. Retrace your steps when things do go sideways.
    Realize that it is ok for things to go sideways. Some of the most challenging situations can be the greatest teachers. It sucks when you are in the middle of it but once on the other side you know more about yourself and these types of situations.
It is wonderful when everything works out but life isn't always predictable. Considering all the various directions something can go gives you a way to think comprehensively about a situation. Building ways that allow for failure along the way will keep you nimble and prepared.
Pattern Author

Design Leader