Blameless Postmortems

On the final day of my first week of AC4D, a friend introduced me to the concept of blameless postmortems. I’m sure that he wasn’t aware just how fitting and timely his article share was for me. Even after only seven days of class, I’m already certain that I will fail many, many times during the course of this program, and it is vital that I understand how an accident or failure occurred in order to better equip myself to prevent it from happening in the future.

“Some of the most valuable learning opportunities exist in the wake of failure, and those opportunities are often squandered.”

Blameless postmortems emphasize forward-looking accountability and encourage the “experts” of mistakes (read: those who have made mistakes) to turn into teachers and help turn errors into investments in the future. When things go wrong, these accidents contains valuable information and should be “seen as a source of data, not something embarrassing to shy away from”, said John Allspaw, Founder of Adaptive Capacity Labs and former CTO of Etsy.

I’m looking forward to having innumerable opportunities to learn from my mistakes over the next eight months and will leave y’all with this equally relevant short video courtesy of Spanx CEO Sara Blakely. “Failure for me became not trying versus the outcome,” Sara said as she fondly recalled a childhood tradition of sharing failures at the dinner table. “If there’s a ‘failure’ or an ‘oops’ in your life and if you learn from it and if you can laugh about it, then it’s all worth it.”