Browse Definitions:
Definition

fail fast

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Fail fast is a philosophy that values extensive testing and incremental development to determine whether an idea has value. An important goal of the philosophy is to cut losses when testing reveals something isn’t working and quickly try something else, a concept known as pivoting.

Fail fast is often associated with the lean startup methodology. The philosophy, which is aligned with management by objectives, is often embraced by businesses that want to develop new products and services with less financial risk than traditional approaches to product development provide. The concept of failing fast is also associated with differences between the waterfall and agile approaches to software development. Just as a team using the waterfall methodology hands a completed product over to the customer, so too does a company that uses traditional research and development (R&D) methodologies. In contrast, a company that embraces the fail fast philosophy develops their product or service incrementally, continually testing customer satisfaction to make sure the product or service meets customer needs before investing more time and money.

An important goal of the fail fast philosophy is to avoid the sunk cost effect, which is the tendency for humans to continue investing in something that clearly isn’t working because it’s human nature for people to want to avoid failure. Failing fast seeks to take the stigma out of the word "failure" by emphasizing that the knowledge gained from a failed attempt actually increases the probability of an eventual success.

Fail fast is championed by entrepreneur and author Eric Ries in his 2011 book, "The Lean Startup." Critics of the philosophy often acknowledge the validity of cutting losses early but point out that any philosophy with "failure" in the name should be avoided because the word has such an undesirable connotation. For this reason, the idea of failing fast may also be referred to as "fail fast, succeed faster." The philosophy may also be called fail early, fail better, test early or fail cheaply.

This was last updated in December 2016

Continue Reading About fail fast

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

  • keylogger (keystroke logger or system monitor)

    A keylogger, sometimes called a keystroke logger or system monitor, is a type of surveillance technology used to monitor and ...

  • password

    A password is an unspaced sequence of characters used to determine that a computer user requesting access to a computer system is...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

SearchStorage

  • CompactFlash card (CF card)

    A CompactFlash card (CF card) is a memory card format developed by SanDisk in 1994 that uses flash memory technology to store ...

  • email archiving

    Email archiving (also spelled e-mail archiving) is a systematic approach to saving and protecting the data contained in email ...

  • RAID (redundant array of independent disks)

    RAID (redundant array of independent disks) is a way of storing the same data in different places on multiple hard disks to ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification written for internally mounted storage...

  • NVMe (non-volatile memory express)

    NVMe (non-volatile memory express) is a host controller interface and storage protocol to enable a solid-state drive to use the ...

  • SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID)

    SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID) is a methodology commonly used to protect data by distributing redundant data blocks across ...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close