Project Management

The 8 Cognitive Biases Project Managers Need to Watch For

Rich Butkevic is a Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification holder and scrum master who specializes in utilizing agile and Scrum methodologies for large projects with geographically distributed teams. He has held a variety of leadership positions across diverse industries, and brings a pragmatic and results-orientated approach to project management. His experience includes PMO process development, cloud infrastructure, billing and payment processing, web development, CRM applications, content management systems, energy management information systems, environmental compliance systems, and more.

What are cognitive biases and how could they be impacting your decision-making process? Project managers need to deal with a wide array of influences, including subconscious biases that could mislead them into making the wrong decisions. From your own preconceived notions about how things should be to socially influenced decisions and peer pressure, you need to be able to separate "fact" from "feeling." If you aren't able to address your cognitive biases, you may find yourself moving toward failure without any way to address or resolve the problem. Here are eight of the most common biases that individuals will encounter, in addition to the best ways to defeat them.

As a project manager, decision making is a large part of your duties. But how do you know that you're making the best decisions with the data that you have? In fact, many people aren't. 

Decision-making processes are easily derailed by what are known as cognitive biases: errors or mistakes in thinking and reasoning. Everyone has biases, regardless of how intelligent, well educated, or experienced they are. These biases will often lead individuals toward making the wrong decisions due to their emotions, memories, or preconceptions about the way things should be. 

Being aware of your cognitive biases is the first …

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- W.B. Yeats