There is a lot of talk on rapid failure. However, if failure is not sowed back quickly, fertilized by a sense of urgency in the soil of good culture, it becomes a candidate for cover up.
My first national scale, multimillion dollar project had completed it’s first major milestone: hosting a national conference. Complacency from the success seemed to be getting better of the team. An error in procurements for the next meeting did not show itself until about 6 weeks before the next national meeting. The error meant a few 10s of thousands of dollars worth of expense or sacrifice in features.
I was glad to have read (and listened) Kotter’s book Sense of Urgency twice in 2014: Once in May, and then again in Fall. Converting the failure into a story, finding an external artifact to fight against, the team started coming together as one force against all odds to prevent further slip ups. Inspired by the determination to make the best of the situation, people put their game faces on and started delivering high quality productivity within a week, well in advance of the national conference.
The road ahead is tough. Four more weeks to the conference, but at least the support team is acting like one big coalition towards this deliverable. I wish them and myself luck on the uphill task ahead.