F**ks Ups and Postmortems


Even with all the precaution and care, every now and then you'll show an inappropriate image to an important partner or forget to divide some value by 10000 thus wreaking havoc to your statistics. Such fuck-ups are unavoidable in a start-up which should almost by definition strive to do things that were never tried before and thus may cause unforeseen consequences. While very unfortunate, fuck-ups are also great moments for self-reflection and introduction of changes, therefore I always strive to do a postmortem analysis once the situation cools down. A postmortem should never be about crucifixion of people involved but an honest and thorough analysis of organization and processes that have led to the fuck-up. In one of the most famous portmortems, the space shuttle Challenger disaster report, it would be easy to blame the manufacturer of O-rings for the accident, while in reality the true reason was far more ominous. Once weak spots are identified you can start implementing actions aimed at preventing fuck-up to repeat. With people shaken by the effects of the failure, also large scale organizational changes are much easier to push through. But on the other hand you shouldn't be afraid also to just do nothing and accept the inevitability of failure. Implementing an ass-saving policy after every failure is one of the more certain paths to bureaucracy-laden organization.