Cognitive Fallacies & Biases in Product Development and Project Management


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When developing new products or managing projects our mind very often tricks us. We think we're right but we're often subject to fallacies and biases which lead our product or project astray. I'm describing some tools which help us to keep our minds from deceiving us. Because our thinking is the number one success factor for successful projects and products.

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Cognitive Fallacies & Biases in Product Development and Project Management

  1. 1. Cognitive Fallacies & Biases - And How To Deal With Them. PM Camp – 2014-06-21
  2. 2. Product Development & Project Management From Vision To Implementation
  3. 3. How Do We Work? In A Way That Fits The Requirements.
  4. 4. Which Tools Ensures Success? None. The Lean/Product/Project/Business Canvas
  5. 5. Development Processes Do Processes Ensure Success? No.
  6. 6. If it‘s not processes … What is it about? You!
  7. 7. Leadership Leadership starts with you. Your company will inherit your values, processes and culture. This will determine your product or project success. 7
  8. 8. The Problem With You … You Suck at Thinking.
  9. 9. Survivorship Bias All winners do …
  10. 10. Availability heuristic Mental Shortcut which uses anecdotal evidence instead of statistical data.
  11. 11. Cognitive Dissonance Confirmation Bias It hurts to be wrong. We avoid evidence of our failure. We look for proof of our idea instead of validation.
  12. 12. Endowment Effect Loss Aversion Sunk Cost Fallacy Now that we invested so much we can‘t throw it away.
  13. 13. Optimism Bias 93% deem their driving ability above median. Chance for enterprises to survive 5 years: 30% Entrepreneurs who think they’ll make it: 80%
  14. 14. Bias blind spots “And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own?”
  15. 15. Best-Practice? Most common project- methode: SALT
  16. 16. Cargo Cult
  17. 17. Know Thyself? You won‘t know yourself. You won‘t change. Just deal with yourself – professionally.
  18. 18. Empirical Process Control “If a process is too unpredictable or too complicated for the planned, (predictive) approach, then the empirical approach (measure and adapt) is the method of choice.” Ken Schwaber
  19. 19. Doubt Yourself! Many founders are overly confident It's good to doubt. Accept the doubt. Allow for doubt in your team.
  20. 20. Breathe! Stop! Step up/out! Reflect! Be mindful.
  21. 21. Explicate! Mind dumps Mindful Conversation Listen. Loop. Feel. Listening/Psychater
  22. 22. Pre-Mortem Why did we fail?
  23. 23. More … Fallacies  Dualism  Anchoring  Bandwagon Effect  Frequency Illusion  … Tools  Reframing  Worst Case  Scenario Planning  …
  24. 24. Good Luck.