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I'd say there are two flavors of optimitis (sounds like an ear infection :-) ):
1. Low psychological safety in the team which the requestor and requestee work in. In such situations, the requestee will be afraid to share their true thoughts and concerns for fear of reprisal.
2. Blind optimism on the part of the requestee.
The solution to both is different - the first will take much longer to address than the latter.
As a team leader in a very cost focused or resource constrained environment, I have had to be very conscious of this situation.
Some people don't know how to say no and/or think they have to please everyone. They become the go-to person for everyone outside the team, especially people looking for free work to limit their own budgets. These people are often overloaded, working on many things that aren't part of our team's assigned work, which also hurts their performance on the work to which the are actually assigned. They might think they have the bandwidth, but don't see the upstream work in the pipeline.
To help prevent the scope creep, first you need to clearly define the scope. If someone is asking to expand the scope, the first answer is "No. Now justify why I should change that answer." Sometimes not that bluntly, but sometimes direct but polite is necessary.
Making sure that WIP is visible is important to managing others' workloads. Is it part of their assignment? Did they volunteer or accept a work request from someone else? I might have to tell others that the work goes through me as the lead for capacity planning. I may have to mentor my team member 1 on 1 on managing their own work. Using emotional intelligence is also important to read both how busy my team is, and if someone is trying to con me into taking on extra work by dropping names and telling me how urgent it is.
Optimistic Bias is something intrinsic in all people which impacts in things like estimations by 20%. So, no problem with that. Just to be aware. In the other side, I prefer optimistic people working with me. At the end, to be honest, I just try to understand to all stakeholders to stay aware about how much the will help along the solution creation process.
One option when asking a known optimistic, is sometimes ask the 2 or 3 questions that they have to say yes to or qualify information, in order to say yes to the question/request you are going to ask. Takes a little thought time on your side, but you can be more confident on where things stand.
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