Learn not to blame others for failure
As children, we can try and pin the blame on others as an easy way out, and to some extent this is something we never grow out of. We learn when we are young that being blamed for something is an uncomfortable experience.
But playing the blame game never works. A study found that people who blame others for their mistakes learn less, lose status and perform worse. The same goes for organisations.
While the temptation to pass the buck is huge, you have to resist it so you can move on. The benefit of this is more respect and loyalty from team members.
Learn to own mistakes
If the fault is yours, don't try to shift it onto others. Michael Snow, business development manager at Capita IT Resourcing, says that a good IT leader is someone who isn't afraid to admit they've made a mistake. "A respected individual will be able to accept if they've slipped up and will admit that they don't necessarily have the answers to everything," he says. "They will also be confident relying on professionals at all levels of the organisation."
Admitting mistakes early helps greatly in taking corrective action and ensuring peace of mind.
Learn from failures by setting up a process to deal with them
When things go wrong, finding out why is important; don't sweep it under the carpet. Pinning the blame on someone or something doesn't help in moving forward. Investigate to get to the heart of the problem, and then find a solution to that.
Edholm says that IT leaders shouldn't "celebrate mistakes", but "be tolerant of them, learn to adapt with the unexpected changes."
Goddard says that with failed projects it is important to note the lessons learned from them – as well as processes that have been put in place that can be continued. "Learn from the failure of Universal Credit to ensure the same mistakes are not repeated," she says.
After a project, especially one that hasn't gone so well, IT managers should ask themselves and their colleagues: what went well?; what didn't go well?; and what could have been done differently? Doing this in a debrief meeting can provide valuable insight into how the project went and also lessons for the future.
Learn from the competition's failure
The great thing about failure is that not only can you learn from your own but also from the failures of other organisations. Looking at other firms' disasters can help you identify problems within your own projects and with any luck you'll be in a position to side-step these issues before they manifest themselves.
Projects can and do have some failures at parts of their lifecycle, which is why it is best to have a management process in place to mitigate risk. The key to a successful project is to learn from the mistakes made and put those lessons into practice.
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