Won’t Get Fooled Again: How Organizations Have Evolved to Value Learning Over Self-deception

Organizations are gradually learning to stop fooling themselves.

The rise of agile development helped us focus on building smaller things. We stopped fooling ourselves about quality, about the designs of our solutions inside and outside, and most importantly, we stopped fooling ourselves that people wanted what we were building. Upon learning we were building the wrong thing, we learned that our concerns about quality and design were premature. The rise of Learn startup thinking helped us focus on learning faster. We’re now learning to build experiments not designed to be scalable or maintainable, but to be quickly deployable and to return more data that helps us learn faster. We’re learning that the hard part of software development is learning fast, not building fast.

This talk is about the rise of learning as a valuable activity. I’ll give examples of organizations that invest in experiments that take the cooperation of developers, testers, product mangers, infrastructure, sales, and marketing. At the end of these experiments organizations are left with no deliverable product and only the knowledge that the product they’re thinking of should or shouldn’t be built at all.

In the past we’d have called this waste. We’ve invested lots of money and time and received nothing. But today more and more organizations are realizing we’re playing a longer game. They’ve learned to stop fooling themselves and work together to learn more, faster.

 
 

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