Learn from past mistakes, yours or other people’s

mistakesFred Brooks wrote about his experiences managing systems development at IBM in the book The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering. In his book, he reviews many common software mistakes that he witnessed and even made himself.

The book coined what is known as “Brook’s Law,” which states “Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.”

Brooks discovered this law when he made the mistake of adding programmers to a project falling behind schedule, then concluded that it delayed the project even further. Using this and other examples of mistakes he witnessed in his career, Brooks is quoted as saying, “Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.”

In my book, The Leadership GPS, Michael Tennyson, teaches his grandson Brian Alden, that those who have learned from mistakes – their own or others’ – are in the best position to lead.

What are you doing to prepare yourself for leadership?  Making some mistakes on your own is inevitable and one way to learn; but learning from the mistakes of others is the easier route.