Sunday, July 30, 2017

'Optimism Bias' leads to poor decision making!


Effective Time-management and Time-boxing is a concern for 'always ready people'.  Being from a background that I am from,  I am probably one of them!  While doing project planning , factoring in some room for the unknown or unseen is very helpful , but that might not be possible all the time. 

Today I came across  Hofstadter's Law and then it naturally took me to read more about "Planning Fallacy

Hofstadter's Law states : 

 It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law. - Douglas Hofstadter

The planning fallacy, first proposed by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky in 1979, states it to be 
 -  "a phenomenon in which predictions about how much time will be needed to complete a future task display an optimism bias and underestimate the time needed" ( ref : wikipedia )

 If we analyze the pattern why many of us often tend to miss the project deadlines ,  you will find that - we usually fall prey to this "planning fallacy" , which is nothing but our tendency to underestimate how long it will take to complete a specific task . 

Its because , we have an optimistic bias  ( TED Talk by Tali Sharot ) towards the task that involve us. 

Optimism bias,  or  unrealistic optimism is the tendency of individuals to underestimate the likelihood  that they will experience adverse events, such as - incomplete or delayed projects , serious diseases or road accidents etc. . As a consequence of this bias, some individuals underestimates the need of precautions that might curb such risks. This bias leads us to believe that we are less likely to get affected from misfortune and more likely to attain success , while the reality might be otherwise.

Planning carefully and conservatively can save us from lot of consequent / unwanted frustrations.

We must remember -  the risk of  'Optimism bias'  is -   poor decision-making!

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