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Software Development: Thinking, Fast and Slow


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In the international bestseller 'Thinking, Fast and Slow', Daniel Kahneman explains how we as human beings think and reason, and perhaps surprisingly how our thought processes are often fundamentally flawed and biased. This talk briefly explores the ideas presented in the book in the context of professional software development. As software developers we all like to think that we are highly logical, and make only rational choices, but after reading the book I'm not so sure. Here I'll share my thinking on thinking.

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Software Development: Thinking, Fast and Slow

  1. 1. Professional Software Development: Thinking, Fast and Slow Daniel Bryant CTO, Instant Access Technologies @taidevcouk
  2. 2. Thinking, Fast and Slow An awesome book! Exploring how we think… “Bias and decision heuristics” 21/03/2014 @taidevcouk
  3. 3. Your Thinking: A Tale of Two Systems… System 1: fast, instinctive, emotional, subconscious Systemic errors System 2: slower, deliberate, reasoning, conscious Lazy, and causal (not statistical) 21/03/2014 @taidevcouk
  4. 4. Heuristics / biases affecting software developers 21/03/2014 @taidevcouk
  5. 5. Availability Heuristic “If something can be recalled, it must be important” Ever notice that MongoDB are at every conference? …and every application seems to use MongoDB? 21/03/2014 @taidevcouk
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  7. 7. Substitution Heuristic “…a computationally complex judgment will be substituted for a more easily calculated heuristic” Observe what happens when you ask… ‘Is Scala a good choice for your current project?’ 21/03/2014 @taidevcouk
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  9. 9. Anchoring Bias “Common tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered when making decisions. ” How does your manager ask for estimates? …is it an unbiased question? 21/03/2014 @taidevcouk
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  11. 11. Thinking Professionally • Availability – Constant learning and evaluation – Spike, prototype, experiment… • Substitution – Matt Raible comparison matrix ( • Anchoring – ‘Clean Coder’ PERT Estimation ( 21/03/2014 @taidevcouk
  12. 12. Thanks for Listening! This is a beta lightning talk… … was it interesting? Please let me know! Contact me: @taidevcouk 21/03/2014 @taidevcouk