Your 27-Step Guide to Failure


“We should not allow failure to define who we are,” said Kevin Jones, a consultant who spoke at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Santa Clara, California.

Jones had just stepped off the stage where he gave a keynote presentation about the acceptance of failure, how you should learn from it, and how you can do your best to prevent it.

Jones’ ultimate advice is to separate yourself from your failure. It’s not a definition of who you are.

During his presentation, he provided a huge list of the different ways you can fail. Some of the ways are very specific to launching an enterprise-level collaboration project, the rest are universal. He said if you set up your project with these parameters, you will have a high propensity to fail:

  1. Go cheap
  2. Reach
  3. Give them another option
  4. Expect users to know what to do
  5. Focus on stats instead of stories
  6. Treat it like an IT project
  7. Focus on the masses and forget the individual
  8. Don’t manage expectations
  9. Ignore those who have done this before
  10. Work in a culture of low trust
  11. Underestimate the political landscape
  12. Think you are in the social business
  13. Make enterprise 2.0 an extra thing to do
  14. Make policy ugly
  15. Assume this about the tool
  16. Assume this isn’t about the tool
  17. Forget about the human experience
  18. Assume increased age means less usage
  19. Make this your project
  20. Don’t do ROI
  21. Rely too much on ROI
  22. Work as you always have
  23. Count on it going viral
  24. Act as if enterprise 2.0 will solve world hunger
  25. Do this by yourself
  26. Don’t be bold
  27. Allow failure to define you or your work