Experiment and Fail Fast in Large Business

Fail fast is an agile philosophy that is helping large and mature businesses deal with changing customer needs and trends.

Failing fast promotes iterative development and learning that can result in massive organizational breakthroughs (how KanBo can help to find answers faster learn here).

A great example of this is Apple. The company builds and refines its products in a much faster and shorter time-frame than other firms. In this way, Apple and its competitors are able to evolve their products rapidly, delivering new features to users faster than ever before. This allows them to be more responsive to the fast-changing business world.

Experiment and fail fast in business is about providing organizations the ability to learn quickly, iterate quickly, and win quickly. Expect big results by developing your business to be Agile.

In this article we explore:

  • The concepts behind agile philosophy.
  • How to turn your organization into an Agile machine.
  • How an Agile mentality makes organizations more productive and efficient.


What does fail fast mean?

Fail fast originates from a software development concept where the detection and discovery of potential problems are sped up to minimize time and cost. Fail fast relies on iteration to steer the project towards success in the process of development. This means that the project is incrementally finetuned, reducing the risk of overall rejection which is an even more damaging failure. With fail fast, you can reduce time lags and costs incurred by detecting the problems sooner and fixing them as you go.

How does failing fast relate to business?

Fail fast is often used in conjunction with the agile methodology when it comes to business. Businesses use fast failures to get the end-result faster instead of perfecting the solution and risking overall failure. This fits perfectly in with the fast-paced technological era that we live in. Businesses need to account for all the variances and go for an approach that can meet the changing needs of the modern customer. The iteration involved in failing fast helps you attain a snowball learning effect that gives birth to a much better and complete solution.

What does fail fast mean in an agile organization?

Fail fast is one of the major philosophies aligned with the agile approach in organizations. Much like agile, it favors incremental learning, and extensive testing to fail fast and bounce back faster. The agile software development model also uses fail fast to develop products incrementally. For an organization, failing fast can manifest in a number of ways to reduce cost and time spent.

Why is experiment and fail fast important?

Experiment and fail fast is important because:

  • Failing fast means you can come back stronger and better.
  • It drives learning and growth.
  • It helps you adapt to the rapidly changing environment and customer needs.
  • Iteration gives birth to positive feedback loops.
  • Iterative development gives a much better result than completing products and services to perfection.
  • It saves time and cost that is spent on perfecting a product that may be rejected in the end.

Why is it significant that an organization allow for experiment and fail fast?

Apart from all the advantages of experimenting and failing fast, the two main reasons are:

Failure is the Best Teacher

Failure is the best teacher and it gives you two important things that can help you bounce back stronger – experience and feedback. Once you have attempted something and failed at it, you are no longer starting from scratch. You have the experience that will inform the next iteration and feedback about how you can improve it.

The Advantage of Speed

Businesses that fail fast evolve more rapidly as they learn and grow faster as well. If your business isn’t falling fast and often enough, it is most likely stagnating without improvement.

How do you implement experiment and fail fast culture in the workplace using KanBo?

KanBo helps you foster a culture of experimentation and failing fast to utilize the knowledge gathered and come back stronger in the next increment. Here are KanBo’s top features to help you experiment and fail fast:

Public Boards

KanBo makes organization-wide knowledge sharing easy with public boards. Here, organizations can gather, organize, and share corporate knowledge including lessons learned from previous failures. Here are some interesting features of public boards:

  • Add public boards to personal board collections.
  • Access them as read-only boards for a knowledge base.
  • Enable the auto-join feature to turn it into a community.
  • Host real-time question and answer sessions with experts, management, and community leaders.
  • Follow relevant topics as cards or clusters to stay updated on all changes and developments.

Archiving of Cards and Boards

KanBo helps you build an intelligent information lifecycle that is easy to follow. Once the information has run through its entire lifecycle, KanBo enables you to archive it to store it for later use. As you experiment and fail-fast, you will most likely need old information to improve the new iteration. With KanBo, you can access this old information and even ensure that no information is ever deleted by disabling the delete option. Archiving in KanBo has two advantages:

  • Declutters your board to help you focus on current contexts.
  • Makes old information searchable

KanBo also automates your retention strategies with predefined rules according to your preferences. Utilize the triggers and automation tools to configure how you want your archival system to work.

Auto-find Boards and Board Collections

In an organization that experiments a lot and embracing fail fast, there’s bound to be a lot of valuable information about lessons learned in the past. However, this information can get lost in overflowing data that your organization generates every day. This often leads to a lot of resources and energy being wasted in doing redundant work. The only way you can make fail fast work is to learn from your mistakes.

KanBo suggests relevant boards from all over the organization and the colleagues who are working on them to help you find similar work contexts to learn from. This helps employees to join forces and work in synergy with others instead of wasting time reinventing the wheel.


In a world full of uncertainty, ambiguity, volatility, and complexity, failing fast can be the saving grace of your organization. Businesses need to accelerate learning by implementing a culture of experimenting and fail fast to create positive feedback loops for radical innovation.

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