First ScrewUp-Night: empiriecom Edition

07. Mär 2019
Johannes Haaf

We all make mistakes, but you better not talk about, right? Not at empiriecom!

On the 19th of February 2019, our colleagues got together for the 1st “empiriecom ScrewUp-Night” in order to exchange information about missteps and failed projects which have taken place within the last months. 


What the ...?!

The concept. which just recently started to spread among German companies, is called “FuckUp-Night” – short FUN – and turns out to be a kind of new ‘error culture’. This kind of meeting originates from Mexico: a few friends sat together and talked about their business failures. They realised that they have enjoyed the conversation and have felt somehow liberated. As a result, the concept of “FuckUp Night” and a new culture of ‘failure’ had been born. 

How does it work?

Several speakers agree to openly admit their professional mistakes and showcase them to the audience in a relaxed and humorous atmosphere. Anyone who thinks that this is about schadenfreude for other people's missteps is way off the mark. This format is about the open and honest discussion of failures in a direct exchange and ideally results in lessons learned for all involved.

And what for?

The concept of a “FuckUp-Night” is completely based on the motto "Fall down, get up, straighten your crown and carry on!”. The name says it all: the root cause of a "fuck up" is discussed in order to learn from mistakes collectively. Acting in a dynamic working world bristled with increasing uncertainties, quickly learning from mistakes is simply unavoidable. Especially within the complex world of software development, the three pillars of the agile Scrum framework – transparency, inspection and adaptation – come to the fore. No matter if it is about requirements, obstacles or project progress, both, continuous improvement and long-term success can only be achieved through transparent communication and the courage to admit mistakes as well as to discuss them openly and learn from them.

Our Scrum Master Nastassja took it upon her to plan such a “FuckUp-Night” and initiated “The 1st ScrewUp-Night: empiriecom Edition”. All in all, five teams reported on what had not worked out as well as it should have in the last months, taking up to 30 minutes each. The event has first been framed as a kind of internal ‘After-work event’, where around 30 employees have met for chilled drinks and snacks on a Tuesday evening.


After a short introduction and explanation about what this evening is going to be all about by our organiser, the speakers  immediately started with the programme. Two hours and a half in total, including liberally timed breaks, people have listened, reflected and discussed. Every misstep was presented within the given time and lessons were learned from it; at the end of each lecture there had been some space for questions and suggestions from the audience.


One thing for sure: We would love to do it again! We have received lots of positive feedback and there had been a clear vote for repeating this event. Well, get ready for the 2nd ‘ScrewUp-Night: empiriecom Edition’!

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