There are two distinct views of project management practice: the rational view which focuses on management tools and techniques such as those espoused by frameworks and methodologies, and the social/behavioural view which looks at the social aspect of projects – i.e. how people behave and interact in the context of a project and the wider organisation. The difference between the two is significant: one looks at how projects should be managed, it prescribes tools, techniques and practices; the other at what actually happens on projects, how people interact and how managers make decisions. The gap between the two can sometimes spell the difference between project success and failure. In many failed projects, the failure can be traced back to poor decisions, and the decisions themselves to cognitive biases: i.e. errors in judgement based on perceptions. A paper entitled, Systematic Biases and Culture in Project Failure, by Barry Shore looks at the role played by selected cognitive biases in the failure of some high profile projects. The paper also draws some general conclusions on the relationship between organisational culture and cognitive bias. This post presents a summary and review of the paper.
Via Alessandro Cerboni, Philippe Vallat