Psychology

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The Absent Boss Effect

You may recognise the scenario. A team that seems lethargic, low-energy, lacking communication, and delivering poor quality work can suddenly ignite into a high-energy team of awesomeness… all they need is for the boss to be on holiday, or at a conference, or in an off-site meetings – just generally not around. This is the […]

Decision Burnout

You might not notice it, but you may be making hundreds – or even thousands – of decisions everyday. Unchecked, these decisions will burn you out. Sometimes it is the number of different decisions that causes the damage, in other cases it is the constant churn of a single decision that roasts your ability to […]

The Sip Test Fallacy

Why do people buy an expensive brand even though a much cheaper alternative beats the brand in a taste test? One contributing reason is presentation. If something looks good, we are more likely to think it tastes good. This is a proven effect, but there is a more interesting process at work. If you watch […]

Short Term Measurement Error

This is a counter warning to my article on magical numbers. Magical Numbers are a useful abstraction – a way of measuring less without learning less. Without finding these numbers, you end up investing too much in collecting detailed measurements that make the real story hard to fathom, but Magical Numbers allow you to collect […]

The Search For A Self

Most humans have a feeling that we have a certain amount of self-direction. The thought that we are simply a combination of DNA passed to us from our ancestors (nature) with a sprinkle of experiences (nurture), which combine to give us predictable responses to stimulation seems alien. Yet the wealth of experiments conducted by behaviourists […]

Mind First, Language Second

I don’t know if other industries experience this, but in software development it appears to be getting increasingly common. Pick a word or phrase, perform an in-depth critique of the word explaining why it shouldn’t be used, and attempt to coin a new phrase (over which you can be the creater and arbiter of all […]

The Mainstream Effect

The mainstream effect describes a level of popularity that a given technique may gain, which causes the general knowledge of it to become dangerously superficial. When it exists in a small niche, amongst a dedicated community of practitioners, the technique proves to be highly effective. The technique is passed on from person to person in […]

Tidying Up The Web

It is time to tidy up The Web. The Web was created to share information, and this is still the best thing it offers today. There are lots of other benefits, but the lasting masterpiece of The Web will be that anyone with a connection can find and access an abundance of information, knowledge, and […]

The Magical Number Of Misunderstandings

I am seeing the magical number seven, plus or minus two, being misapplied to team sizes with increasing regularity. The frequent use of George Miller’s famous paper is often accompanied by a common misunderstanding. Lots of people are saying; “Your team should be between 5 and 9 people”, or “Teams should contain 7 people, plus […]

World No Resources Day

Today (1st May) is World No Resources Day, a day intended to promote humanity in the workplace. On the official World No Resources Day website, the message is simple: “…please be careful not to use the word “resource” at work when referring to people. If you catch someone else doing this, please call them out.” […]