Fail early, fail often, but what if you can’t fail? - the Games we Play at the BCS SM-ITAM conference

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Fail often and fail fast is often taken as the agile war cry, but often people haven’t thought very deeply about what it actually means. The full quote, from John C. Maxwell, is “Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward”. “Failing forward” is all about iteration, about risking failure (with a small and controlled scope of impact) in order to eventually achieve success. It’s about avoiding any obsession with perfection, delivering something that more-or-less works, and improving it, with the help of the end users.

But, members of the BCS SM-ITAM SG (Service Management and IT Asset Management Specialist Group) ask, “what happens when you can’t fail?” Using peoples’ personal data for your own purposes without opt-in consent is currently illegal, for example, and the possible fines might put you out of business (to say nothing of the associated reputation risk). Sometimes the scope of impact of even a small failure, in this world of large-scale, asynchronous, automation, may be out of all proportion to the absolute size of the error. This is especially likely in the realms of regulatory compliance and reputation management, where “apologise for the failure and move on” may not cut it.

At the same time, Mutable organisations are all about continual evolution and the acceptance of change as a way of life. Operational delivery is all about playing games around balancing resilience and “no surprises” against innovation and responsiveness to business change. What we need, the BCS SM-ITAM SG says, is a common rule book which supports service assurance and helps to make sure that automated business systems work together, with the behaviours and business outcomes the organisation expects.

Join the BCS SM-ITAM SG at its annual conference, to explore the issues in two streams – Service Management and IT Asset Management. It has a full agenda of thought-provoking presentations across both disciplines, plus plenty of time for networking. The BCS SM-ITAM conference, “The games we play: building a common rule book across IT and digital” is now back in the real world, face to face, on Thursday 13th October 2022, from 09.00 – 19.00pm, at 25 Copthall Avenue, London, EC2R 7BP. The conference includes a light breakfast, lunch and networking supper as well as tea and coffee breaks.

You can sign up for this conference here.

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