Why You’re a Terrible PM: Cognitive Biases in Project Management

Why You’re a Terrible PM: Cognitive Biases in Project Management

Carson Pierce - PMP, CSM

OK – you’re not really a terrible PM. You know your stuff, you’ve mastered JIRA, and you’re totally on top of things. And yet things still go sideways, tasks are late, and everyone is kind of cranky by the end. So we do some root cause analysis try to figure out where it went wrong… but we don’t go deep enough. It turns out, the source of the problem is all in our heads. We’re just not naturally wired for project management.

Examples abound:
– Why do we not foresee risks? It’s the illusion of control, compounded by confirmation bias.
– Why are we bad at estimating? Blame the planning fallacy and optimism bias.
– Why does work not stay on schedule? A combination of Parkinson’s Law and student syndrome.

This session will answer all these questions and others by drawing on the fields of psychology, neuroscience and behavioural economics and applying it to project management. Finally, we’ll close out by exploring debiasing strategies to help counter the misguided tendencies of our brains.

Carson has been working in the digital space for over 15 years, mostly in managing mid- to large-scale website projects.
Over the past several years he has been connecting project management and brain science to help people get better at doing knowledge work and delivering successful projects.

Outside of work, Carson enjoys listening to music that no one else likes and playing hockey poorly. You can read the occasional post on his blog at carsonpierce.com or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/carsonpierce.