According to Lean Startup, the easiest way to progress is to fail fast.

What does that actually mean and where does this idea come from?

The concept comes from Lean Startup and suggests that we should not spend a huge amount of time developing something until we are sure that we are going in the right direction and that we will actually obtain the benefits from our efforts.

It is better, and more sensible, to focus on what works well for our audience which is not necessarily what we want to focus on.

Understanding the needs of our audience and delivering to it what they seek yields more benefits faster.

How does this idea help you in projects and change initiatives?

We can apply this idea when developing new products and only focus on what customers really want.
Taking too much time delivering a high quality product whilst not taking the necessary time to focus on that little item which will make the whole difference to your customer can be counterproductive and consume a lot of time.

So next time you develop an item for your customer (internal or external) consider showing him a Minimum Viable Product first (a basic wireframe for instance) before developing the whole product only to be told "That's not what I asked!".
Failing fast will help you help your customer swiftly and put you in the right direction quickly.

John Higham

John helps organisations blend Best Practices in their management systems to improve the way Portfolio of Change Initiatives are run.