About “The Marvels and the Flaws ofIntuitive Thinking” and how they impact   Business Requirements Gathering              ...
Motivation• Kahneman argues that the brain is governed by two general  types of thinking processes: System 1 and System 2 ...
Experiment• “This is a report of the study that was carried out in a kitchen at  some university in the UK, and that kitch...
4Copyrights (c) 2011 Pragmatic Cohesion Consulting
System 1: the mental shotgun• Perception and intuition are very closely linked…many of the  rules that apply to perception...
System 1: the mental shotgun• The difference between averages and sums is very important. There  are variables that are “s...
Another Experiment• The brain is very efficient at dealing with  individual particular cases but it is not good at  dealin...
System 1 Manifestations during Business    Requirements Elicitation activities• The effect of “Watching eyes”:  – Unconsci...
System 1 Manifestations during Business        Requirements Elicitation activities• “What you see is all there is” syndrom...
System 1 Manifestations during Business     Requirements Elicitation activities• Economic value is a “sum like” variable a...
System 1 Manifestations during Business    Requirements Elicitation activities• Getting an answer to a question other than...
System 1 Manifestations during Business    Requirements Elicitation activities• The brain is very efficient at dealing wit...
References•   The Marvels and the Flaws of Intuitive Thinking, Edge Master Class 2011:    http://edge.org/conversation/the...
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About The Marvels and the Flaws of Intuitive Thinking and how they impact Business Requirements Gathering activities

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About the marvels and the flaws of intuitive thinking

  1. 1. About “The Marvels and the Flaws ofIntuitive Thinking” and how they impact Business Requirements Gathering Inspired by Daniel Kahneman’s Presentation At Edge.org/conversations Copyrights (c) 2011 Pragmatic Cohesion Consulting 1
  2. 2. Motivation• Kahneman argues that the brain is governed by two general types of thinking processes: System 1 and System 2 – System 1 is the intuitive, unconscious thinking process that humans do instantaneously and effortlessly – System 2 is the conscious and much slower logical, orderly computation that applies rules in well defined stages• Business Requirements Elicitation, in its Requirements Gathering stage, involves interactions between the Business Analyst and various stakeholders in a System 1-like fashion• This presentation first summarizes relevant characteristics of Kahneman’s System 1.• The last part of the presentation shows examples of System 1 manifestations during Business Requirements Gathering and possible actions to mitigate their side effects 2 Copyrights (c) 2011 Pragmatic Cohesion Consulting
  3. 3. Experiment• “This is a report of the study that was carried out in a kitchen at some university in the UK, and that kitchen has an honesty system where people put in money when they buy tea and milk, and this is per liter of milk consumed, and somebody had the bright idea of putting a poster right on top of where the milk and the tea are, and of changing the poster every week. You can see that the posters alternate week by week, they alternate flowers and eyes, and then you can see how much people are paying. It starts from the bottom, which is the biggest effect, and this thing speaks for itself. It shows the enormous amount of control that there is, a thing that people are completely unaware of. Nobody knew that the posters had anything to do with anything. The posters are eyes, the eyes are symbols, somebody is watching, and that has an effect and you contribute more.” Daniel Kahneman, 2011 Copyrights (c) 2011 Pragmatic Cohesion Consulting 3
  4. 4. 4Copyrights (c) 2011 Pragmatic Cohesion Consulting
  5. 5. System 1: the mental shotgun• Perception and intuition are very closely linked…many of the rules that apply to perception also apply to intuition• We see a world that is vastly more coherent than the world actually is. “What you see is all there is” is a mechanism that is not sensitive to the information it does not have.• It is a mechanism that takes what ever information is available and makes the best story out of that…The confidence that people have in their beliefs is a judgment of the coherence of the story that the mind has managed to construct. People tend to have great belief on stories that have very little evidence to support them. 5 Copyrights (c) 2011 Pragmatic Cohesion Consulting
  6. 6. System 1: the mental shotgun• The difference between averages and sums is very important. There are variables that are “sum like” and variables that are “average like”. Economic value is a “sum like” variable and so is probability but we judge probability as an “average like” variable, and that creates a lot of flawed judgments.• Similarity is easy for the brain to compute but [computing] probability is much harder for the brain.• People tend to be asked a question but they answer another question almost instantly and unconsciously. This is a type of mental activity (Shotgun) that computes a lot more than it is required to. Sometime one of these parallel computation is so much faster than the one that would answer the actual question that it generates the wrong answer. 6 Copyrights (c) 2011 Pragmatic Cohesion Consulting
  7. 7. Another Experiment• The brain is very efficient at dealing with individual particular cases but it is not good at dealing with ensembles or percentages. 7 Copyrights (c) 2011 Pragmatic Cohesion Consulting
  8. 8. System 1 Manifestations during Business Requirements Elicitation activities• The effect of “Watching eyes”: – Unconsciously, during Requirements Gathering meetings, people adjust their behavior if they get even the slightest sense that they are being “Watched”. – As a Business Analyst you want to make sure that any “Watching eye” watches for signs of Collaboration among meeting participants. Refer to the presentation “Achieving consensus in business requirements elicitation meetings” 8 Copyrights (c) 2011 Pragmatic Cohesion Consulting
  9. 9. System 1 Manifestations during Business Requirements Elicitation activities• “What you see is all there is” syndrome: – As Requirements gathering meetings proceed, each participant continuously creates in his/her own mind a story of what they believe the information captured so far is. Each story is likely to be heavily biased from one participant to the next. – One of the Business Analyst’s most critical contribution in this stage is to capture and communicate with as much fidelity as possible the information that was actually provided by all meeting participants. – Many Business Analysts mistakenly think that this is acting like a faithful type writer and that it diminishes the value of the BA. Au Contraire, Kahneman System1 is working overtime in each participant’s mind; “What you see is all there is” is a mechanism that is not sensitive to the information it does not have or that it failed to recognize it has. – It is the BA’s responsibility to insure that false beliefs are not cultivated. Accurately capturing and communicating the information recorded to all participants can prevent such pitfall. 9 Copyrights (c) 2011 Pragmatic Cohesion Consulting
  10. 10. System 1 Manifestations during Business Requirements Elicitation activities• Economic value is a “sum like” variable and so is probability but we judge probability as an “average like” variable, and that creates a lot of flawed judgments: – Prioritization of Requirements is probably the hardest exercise to conduct if you agree that it should be an economic decision – Stakeholders will tell the Business Analyst which Requirements they believe are the most important during Requirements Gathering meetings. – The BA should again faithfully record those value judgments without expressing their own but the BA must make provision for another working session that will address Requirements prioritization from a much more rational, economic and/or probabilistic angle. 10 Copyrights (c) 2011 Pragmatic Cohesion Consulting
  11. 11. System 1 Manifestations during Business Requirements Elicitation activities• Getting an answer to a question other than the one you asked: – This is possibly one of the most common source of frustration to Business Analysts. – Properly designed Visual Aids can be very useful to avoid this situation. The goal is for the visual aid to create an easily identifiable context for the question asked. – Example of context specifying Visual Aids are: process steps lists or diagrams and context diagrams. 11 Copyrights (c) 2011 Pragmatic Cohesion Consulting
  12. 12. System 1 Manifestations during Business Requirements Elicitation activities• The brain is very efficient at dealing with individual particular cases but it is not good at dealing with ensembles or percentages: – Use cases take advantage of the brain natural ability to associate characteristics or properties to agent-like objects – Use Cases define actions that specific actors carry out. – Kahneman deliberate personification of System 1 and System 2 in his presentation is a great illustration of the communicative power of Actors and Use Cases specially when dealing with complex ideas. – Business Analysts can surely benefit from applying Use Cases to most Requirements Gathering activities 12 Copyrights (c) 2011 Pragmatic Cohesion Consulting
  13. 13. References• The Marvels and the Flaws of Intuitive Thinking, Edge Master Class 2011: http://edge.org/conversation/the-marvels-and-flaws-of-intuitive-thinking• Achieving consensus in business requirements elicitation meetings: http://slidesha.re/qLD1YtQuestions and Comments contact: didier@pragmaticohesion.com 13 Copyrights (c) 2011 Pragmatic Cohesion Consulting
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