Postmortems

The accidental sinking of the USS Guitarro nuclear submarine during its construction in 1969 delayed

The accidental sinking of the USS Guitarro nuclear submarine during its construction in 1969 delayed the work by 32 months and cost 15-20 million USD. The postmortem is a good read!
http://www.history.navy.mil/library/special/guitarro.htm

How do you get humans to back off and rethink when their solution isn’t working, instead of doubling down? I’ve read “the logic of failure” (great book), done and seen the same thing done, how can we get people to break out of it?

Checklists, training, and a culture which allows for subordinates to raise questions effectively. See
https://plus.google.com/u/0/107049823915731374389/posts/e4dEusfTJDv

Those can help in preventing you from sinking the submarine, and many other things (such as the controlled flight into terain at SFO recently), and a culture that encorages people to speak up can help quite a bit. But when it’s just me, say, asside from knowing this, remembering tthat perhaps the reason I’m having problems resolving things, is because I’m thinking about it wrong, and I need to back off, and and try to look with fresh eyes.

Yes, one person working alone is a weak spot in itself. I suppose a process for reviewing and reanalysing what you saw, what you know, how you know it and what your current hypothesis is can help.