Last August I went to the Central Iowa Software Symposium put on by No Fluff Just Stuff. It was my second time at a No Fluff Just Stuff conference. It was held in West Des Moines, Iowa at the Sheraton. These conferences always have a great lineup.
One of the speakers I really enjoyed was Tim Berglund. One of his sessions was entitled “Decision Making in Software Teams”. That sounded very general so I thought I would check it out and see what Tim had to say. He began by siting the digital course Art of Critical Decision Making from Professor Michael A Roberto from Bryant University. He talked through the process of inventing a new idea, then communicating the idea, and finally deciding on an idea.
“Developers make critical decisions about every 15 minutes” – Mary Poppendieck
That really struck me at first and then as I thought through that quote. As a developer I can go through a normal day and see where we could say something like that. From their Tim jumped in to individual decision making from a developer perspective. Tim had a lot of interesting things to say about this area alone. The first item was cognitive biases that we have and affect our decision making as individuals. One of those cognitive bias was overconfidence in our own opinion. I know that has affected my decisions before. He also worked through confirmation bias. This is present in our work lives as well as our personal lives.
He also talked about how we let our intuition drive our responses and choices we make. This can lead to many pitfalls that can vastly affect our decisions in software development. As technical people we also can let data drive our decisions. This can lead us to invalid conclusions when data is inaccurate or incomplete.
Next time I will discuss Tim’s next part of his presentation on Team Decision Making. Stay tuned.