Learning from failure is one of the keys to success. As philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” What does that mean? If we learn from our failures, we can perform much better in the future.

Therefore, consider these past posts:

Now, we review some Google insights.


Google Insights for Learning from Failure

According to Google’s John Lunney, Sue Lueder, and Gary O’Connor:

“Failures are an inevitable part of innovation. And they can provide data to make products, services, and organizations better. Google uses ‘postmortems’ to capture and share the lessons of failure. With a postmortem, our team reflects on the lessons from our most significant undesirable events. Incidents happen. But not all require a postmortem. That’s why we first make sure we define when we need one. Then, setting up our criteria.”

“Some postmortem scenarios we look for include these. Visible service disruptions. Data integrity impacts. Slow customer resolutions. Or failed error detection. Our next step is to work together to create a written record. What happened? Why? Its impact. How the issue was mitigated or resolved. And what we’ll do to prevent the incident from recurring. We create postmortems for any event we wish to avoid in the future. OR if a partner team wishes to document the root cause of a breakdown (or a close call).”.

“For us, it’s not about pointing fingers at any given person or team. But about using what we’ve learned to build resilience. And preparing for future issues that may arise along the way. By discussing our failures in public and working together to investigate their root causes, everyone gets the opportunity to learn from each incident. As well as to be involved with any next steps. Documentation of this process provides our team and future teams with a lasting resource that they can turn to whenever necessary.”

Google follows these guidelines. To encourage blameless and constructive feedback. To focus on improvement and resilience. And to promote an iterative and collaborative process.

Click the images below to see a Google postmortem example. And to engage in a postmortem exercise of your own.

Learning from Failure -- Google Postmortem Example


Learning from Failure -- Postmortem Exercise

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.