Before they started mass production, two early typewriter developers asked the era’s leading court reporter to test their new business machine. In 1869, James Clephane’s rigorous tests destroyed one expensive prototype after another.
Said [Christopher Sholes] to [business partner James] Densmore: “I am through with Clephane!”
Densmore’s comment was: “This candid fault-finding is just what we need. We had better have it now than after we begin manufacturing. Where Clephane points out a weak lever or rod, let us make it strong. Where a spacer or an inker works stiffly, let us make it work smoothly. Then, depend upon Clephane for all the praise we deserve.”
We still do that 140+ years later, except that web developers and pharmaceutical researchers now call it “fast-failure” — and user testing services from hesketh.com rarely involve typewriters.
What do you do to determine fast-failure on your projects?