Wednesday, October 27, 2021
AI teams invest a lot of rigor in defining new project guidelines. But the same is not true for killing existing projects. In the absence of clear guidelines, teams let infeasible projects drag on for months. By streamlining the process to fail fast on infeasible projects, teams can significantly increase their overall success with AI initiatives. This talk covers how to fail fast on AI projects. AI projects have a lot more unknowns compared to traditional software projects: availability of right datasets, model training to meet required accuracy threshold, fairness and robustness of recommendations in production, and many more.In order to fail fast, we manage AI initiatives as a conversion funnel analogous to marketing and sales funnels. Projects start at the top of the five-stage funnel and can drop off at any stage, either to be temporarily put on ice or permanently suspended and added to the AI graveyard. Each stage of the AI funnel defines a clear set of unknowns to be validated with a list of time-bound success criteria. In the talk, we cover details of the 5-stage funnel and experiences building a fail-fast culture where the AI graveyard is celebrated!