You plan and plan and plan and plan and yet… nothing goes according to plan.
Maybe you and your team are operating under these 4 cognitive biases:
A cognitive bias is a mistake in reasoning, evaluating, remembering, or other cognitive process, often occurring as a result of holding onto one’s preferences and beliefs regardless of contrary information.
- Bias: Dunning–Kruger effect – The tendency for unskilled individuals to overestimate their own ability and the tendency for experts to underestimate their own ability. >> org
- When less experienced team members provide unrealistically optimistic estimates, not taking into account other work commitments (e.g., meetings, emails, normal interruptions and interactions).
- When very experienced team members provide unrealistically pessimistic estimates based on previous experiences of things going wrong, unexpected events, lack of clarity and people changing their minds.
- When evaluating bid proposals one company either under- or over -quotes the rest, significantly.
- Team members who are already working at or over capacity volunteer to do more.
- Experienced team members who seem to be highly skilled maintain that they are not capable of the task.
- Estimate in groups. Many Agile methods recommend techniques such as T-shirt estimating or Planning Poker that is done in groups so that team members (with varying experience and expertise) can talk through assumptions and come to a consensus on the size of effort.
- Use estimating points. More Agile techniques recommend using ‘estimating points’ instead of jumping straight to time and cost estimates. Providing estimates in time and costs (early on) can be humiliating later on if they are then incorrect. Experiences like this can be off-putting and end up reinforcing pessimistic estimates on future efforts.
- Provide estimates in ranges. Ranges show best case scenario to worst case scenario to counteract the different expectations.
- Identify the underlying assumptions. Ask those companies under- or over- quoting what assumptions they are making about the work.