"Failure is not an option"...up until now this was a saying which I always drummed into my head..."Failure is not an option". Recently, in fact the last 2 years, this saying has become non existant in my head. Well...at least I have tried to make it non-existant. A friend once asked me to really think about failure and then presented me with a question..."why are you not allowed to fail?" Then followed that up with "surely making mistakes and failure is part of growing, learning and understanding?...no?"
I have always been afraid of not being able to achieve a goal or fail at something. For me growing up in school, there was always so much pressure to get the highest mark in my exams so you can imagine getting told off by your teachers or parents for failing an end of year exam or failing a Piano grade exam can be tough. Yes parents have your best interest at heart, so they will always push and encourage you to work hard and be the best person that you can be, but one thing you never really learn from this is how to pick yourself up after something doesn't go the way you planned. And when you start working in the real world, this is defiantly a skill you need to have because things are bound to go wrong. You can only become a better and stronger person from the mistakes you make, and you can only make mistakes by putting yourself out there an not being afraid to challenge ideas and people.
Where I work currently and back in my previous company, we were and still are encouraged to fail, lol which may seem a bit of an odd thing...okay let me rephrase that - we are encouraged to try new things and to not be afraid of failure. I guess this is one of the reasons I enjoy my work, knowing that I have that freedom to try something new, a software or process and not be afraid of that idea failing, because if it doesn't work the first time, it can work the second time and even the third. So the word FAILURE starts to pretty much disappear from your vocabulary.
For all the software techies and geeks who are familiar with Scrum/Agile and software development, for the last year I have been trying to introduce BDD (Behaviour Driven Development) within my Development department at work. Now for anyone who has tried introducing or implementing a new idea or theory at work will know just how hard that can be. So I tried this and well ... the first time didn't go down so, not everyone bought into the idea of BDD and it was pretty much a complete mess and well...failure...in my head at least, so me being me, I was ready to give up. However, after pep talks and encouragement from friends and colleagues, I tried again, this time using a different approach. I used examples and analogies to draw a vision or mental image of what benefits could come out of the new tool and the outcome and reception was much better, I got people talking about BDD, thinking about BDD and certainly reading up about BDD. Ace!
About a month ago I decided to take it a step further, I pushed my team to try and put this theory into action, so I started writing scenarios specifications and got my developers to automate them and try and see the benefits from it using our systems. Today we had a breakthrough, we started automating all our stories one by one within our sprint, using BDD. We are now collaborating, communicating and creating a tool in which we can slowly specify and develop new features and open a new path for developing better quality working software.
I now look back to say about 7-8 months and think to myself ... that wasn't failure, it was a drive to push me to not give up and try again. If at first you don't succeed, try again - cheesy I know! but hey...totally hits the nail on the head!