The Origin Story

Where did this phrase “only new mistakes” come from?

It originally came from a process our development teams used of allowing people to make mistakes, but ironman1encouraging them to always learn from the mistake and to not repeat it. Each review period, quarterly when I first encountered this mentality, we would look at the three things you could have done better. Those mistakes or opportunities were a chance to place a mental speedbump on that memory so that going forward you’ll always remember the mistake and the connected ways you can handle it better going forwards.

As I moved into management, I was looking for a short, sweet version of this process so that I could say it to the members of my team and help them learn this trick and at one point I began using the phrase that it was my goal to only make “new mistakes.” Using my learning from my previous roles, companies and other life events to avoid the known mistakes I’ve seen before, or at the very least to discover new ways to make some of the same mistakes.

Where does this principle apply?

I believe it works great in the business context, but that it’s also very useful in parenting and so many other areas of life. This blog is going to focus on the types of mistakes and learnings you can use to build a great engineering team, but that doesn’t mean the learnings will end there.

This blog will primarily focus on how to apply this principle to leading software development teams, but will draw on experiences in parenting, volunteer work, business, and so much more.