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The F-word: Failure (continued)

Most projects fail to some degree. I think the documented percentage (per the Standish Group’s Chaos Report) is between 72% and 82%.  Even if these percentages read like scare tactics to you, as they do to some people, it does not help to pretend that technical risks don’t exist, or need to be mitigated.

Good, mature organizations will position themselves to really learn from failures or challenges, and not just pretend to do so.  If a project fails for technical reasons, there may be a possible SR&ED claim in it, which means that something may be salvageable, financially, and there may even be real knowledge gains and transferable, reusable technical learning at the end of that path.  Knowledge management is a challenge for most companies and many of those who attempt it do it badly.

If you have a SR&ED program, or are contemplating one, reconcile yourself to the fact that failure is useful.  If a project has failed, or is failing, for technical reasons, then that is a prime indicator of the presence of technological uncertainty, one of the key criteria for SR&ED eligibility.  Understand the failure (and the reasons for it, if possible.) Document the failure, and each failed approach or attempt. Record what you tried to do, and what happened as a result. Learn from failure … and then file a SR&ED claim based on the cost of doing that work, if it qualifies.  Filing for SR&ED may help you to remind yourself that there’s another f-word that is not nearly so negative in its connotations:  funding.

Jun 1, 2012 5:51 by
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