Digital funeral

Method to turn failed projects into the get the best lessons-learned experience out of it.

In the course of digitization, original diffusion models of innovations, products and business models have changed significantly. Classical market transitions along a cyclically relatively long Gaussian normal distribution (from innovator, to early adopter, to early and late majority, to laggard) are significantly shortened. But not only that. Through exponential scaling, further fueled via digital platform mechanisms and digital networking, market transitions are now typically much more dramatic. Dramatic means faster market entries, steeper success curves and more drastic trend endings. In short, without quick reaction and quick decision-making ability within organizations, whether to be part of a development or not, the competition is already lost.

Conversely, this also means the rapid and early abandonment of projects, products or business models as soon as it is recognized that one can a) bet on the wrong horse or b) the horse is already lame.

In order to avoid culturally negative effects of frequent project terminations, it is advisable to show a certain appreciation for such projects and to reflect on them extensively in an exploitative sense, at least with regard to learning effects. A method developed for this purpose, which already had significant relevance in the analog world, is the method of (idea) burial.

This is primarily about active knowledge management and motivation within the team. On the part of the Idea Owner, who may have to abandon his idea before it reaches the market, the focus is on appreciation and learning success. The “digital funeral” method is a cultural component of project development in many agile projects; especially where many impulses are (have to be) tested, brought to market and discarded again in a short time.

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