Over-reinforced sections and under-reinforced sections. An over-reinforced beam fails suddenly and explosively, while an under-reinforced beam fails gradually and visibly. This has fascinated me during my college days, and I apply these principles in many ways at work.

One of the adaptations is to deliberately under-engineer the systems, which in turn shows the weak areas. For example, a system with high computing power may mask the weaknesses of software design, until it is too late.

This article is about the teams. Every team fails to deliver expected results at some point. Some failure modes are confident and silent, some are graceful and visible. Encourage the latter, so that necessary actions can be taken in time. Confident and silent failures are often too late to act upon.

It is often a change in culture, an openness that needs to be instilled in individuals and teams. Even the proverb “failure is the stepping stone to success” implies success only if there is an opportunity to take another step.