How much does a mistake cost?

This post is by Seth Godin from Seth’s Blog

Errors are preventable.

But preventing errors requires an investment. Before committing to an error-free production environment, it’s worth calculating the cost.

A typo on this blog is relatively inexpensive. (Thanks to loyal reader Seth Barnes for graciously emailing me when one slips through).

On the other hand, a mistake in calculating the route of a high-speed rail line might cost a billion dollars… And we probably don’t want any errors on the pacemaker assembly line.

If you’ve decided that errors are too expensive for your project, then build a system that doesn’t depend on heroics to avoid errors. Sure, that costs more than just trying harder, but if trying harder was going to reduce errors, it would have worked already.

The pilot who painstakingly works through the pre-flight checklist might not be a swashbuckling Maverick type, but they are much less likely to be the victim of a careless error. The reason that planes don’t crash is because there are countless layers of redundancy and systems to be sure that they don’t.

Spend the time and spend the money and the errors can be avoided. Or accept that errors are part of wayfinding, and realize that your problem is caused by a systemic situation, not a lack of effort.