Frequently throughout my career I’ve had people say to me “we should test like company X” or “lets do technique Y here because it worked for person Z there.”

On this surface this seems like a good idea, just follow the path blazed by others because it leads to success, right? However I’ve learned that replicating someone else’s approach or methods has rarely lead to success. Usually the opposite, it leads to failure. That’s because no two people, companies, or situations are the same.

So instead of testing like company X or person Z study how they test, ask lots of questions, and experiment with the things you think might be useful in your company and on your projects. Don’t just replicate what others are doing and assume that what they are doing has to be better than what you are doing. Strive to be your own leader instead of seeking out people or companies to follow.

Fair warning, if you do decide to replicate someone else you may end up replicating all their mistakes and none of their successes.