The Planning Fallacy - Deepstash
The Planning Fallacy

The Planning Fallacy


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The Planning Fallacy

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The planning fallacy

The planning fallacy is the likelihood to underestimate the time it will take to finish a future task despite knowing that similar projects have taken longer in the past. For example, writers underestimate how long it will take to complete a novel; product managers miscalculate how long a new feature will take to build.

Studies show that we underestimate how long it will take even when we know we're likely to underestimate timelines.


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  • Break projects down into smaller pieces and estimate how long each part will take.
  • Add 20% to your estimated completion time. It is better to plan for the unexpected than to be surprised by it.
  • Use historical data to make better predictions. Don't think you'll be able to finish faster next time.
  • Limit the scope of work. Instead of extending the timeline, reduce the scope of work.
  • Communicate early and often if you're going to miss a deadline.


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