Unlikely Optimism: The Conjunctive Events Bias
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The conjunctive events bias
We often overestimate the likelihood of events that must happen in conjunction with one another.
We are optimistic in our estimation of the cost and schedule and surprised when something inevitably goes wrong.
The best plans often fail
A plan is like a system. A change in one component of a system will likely impact the functionality of other parts of the system.
The more steps involved in a plan, the higher the chance that something will go wrong and cause delays and setbacks. For this reason, home remodeling and new product ventures seldom finish on time.
Consider your assumptions
Just because we know and understand the concept of conjunctive events bias, we are not automatically immune to it.
When we are planning, it is useful to run through our assumptions with this bias in mind. We should be more pessimistic about our plans and consider the worst-case scenario.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
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