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(PM-838) Cognitive Biases - Improving Project Team's Work

Primary Author: Mr William E Kraus PE FRICS CCE International Aviation Consultants

Audience Focus: Intermediate
Application Type: Experience-Based
Venue: 2012 AACE International Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, USA

Abstract: Wow. I learned a little bit about cognitive biases and thought they must play a role in estimators not using the best judgment in their work. I performed a search in the AACE virtual library for papers containing the word bias and found I'm not the only one who thinks so and also that biases affect much more in project controls than just estimates. In doing more reading, I found that it is a much bigger factor in our lives than I realized. That is truer in estimating than I want to think about. Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, in the article List of Cognitive Biases, lists a total of 113 variations on biases. How do these cognitive biases affect our estimates and how can we negate the effects? Understanding these points will hopefully allow estimators to produce estimates better meeting the needs of their projects.