CEO of Teamwork.com Peter Coppinger discusses the importance of learning from failure and how everyone on the team is being encouraged to celebrate their failures as well as success.

Back in January I watched an epic video on the engineering culture at Spotify, and something that really resonated with me was their willingness to celebrate failures internally:

Spotify Celebrate Failures Internally
Spotify Engineering Culture (Part 2)

“We aim to make mistakes faster than anyone else. We want it to happen fast so we can learn fast and improve fast.” – Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

We’ve definitely have had failures at Teamwork.com, but our tendency was to brush them under the carpet and avoid discussing them at company level.
I wanted to change that.

Celebrating #Fails

We already had a #wins room in Teamwork Chat, where everyone on the team goes to announce their most recent triumph and celebrate with the rest of the company. As a counterpoint, I decided to start a new company room in Teamwork Chat called #fails.
Here’s what I said to the team in an internal blog post:

Here’s my ask… everybody here should be able to point to at least one failure they put in the room by the end of 2017. If you have none, you’re playing it too safe; we need to move fast, experiment, learn and share.

To get the ball rolling I posted the following in the #fails room:

Welcome to the all new #fails room!
This is a room where you should post up your mistakes (and your teams) so that we all can learn from it and evolve faster. Go forth and embrace the fail! I’ll start… (so many to choose from)…
One massive one that stands out is me saying that TKO will take 4-6 weeks; a moronic estimate without any real consideration of the missing API calls and sheer amount of work involved.

Starting the #fails room is encouraging us to analyze our mistakes, openly discuss things we need to correct when pursuing goals going forward and helps ensure that as a team, we never make the same mistake twice.
Failure happens.
I believe that recognizing this as a team and using every failure as an opportunity to learn is key to our continuous improvement and success.
I’m really interested to hear from others on this topic. So, if you have you have any strategies for learning from failure or tips on how you embed this in your company culture let me know in the comments below.