WSJ Interview on “The Experience Trap”

FYI, a Wall Street Journal article (“Dangers of Clinging to Solutions of the Past”) based in part on interviews w/ yours truly came out today (link here, page B4 in the paper).  Thanks to Kishore Sengupta of INSEAD for pointing the WSJ my way and to Phred Dvorak of the WSJ for conveying the perils of […]

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Conclusions — Avoiding the Experience Trap

NOTE: Finally, I’ve gotten to the 12th (and last) post of a series on an HBR article by Prof. Kishore Sengupta, et al on The Experience Trap.  Below are the summarized conclusions with my comments: Learning on the job simply won’t work in any but the most basic environments: PMs do not have the time or perspective […]

Develop project simulators — Avoiding the Experience Trap

NOTE: 11th post of a series on an HBR article by Prof. Kishore Sengupta, et al on The Experience Trap.  I’ve gotten stacked up w/ life and work, time to close out this topic.  We’ve started to look closely at how to put together more effective training for seasoned managers. It is, however, possible to construct artificial […]

Set goals for behavior — Avoiding the Experience Trap

NOTE: 10th post of a series on an HBR article by Prof. Kishore Sengupta, et al on The Experience Trap. The paper outlines some unexpected consequences of the way in which we typically estimate, especially on goals (I’ve quoted liberally from the paper, so I’ve split this post).  I never seriously considered the impact on PM behavior of […]

Calibrate estimation tools — Avoiding the Experience Trap

NOTE: 9th post of a series on an HBR article by Prof. Kishore Sengupta, et al on The Experience Trap. Some interesting observations on the use of PM tools, with a specific focus on estimation.  It is a basic tenet of multivariate analysis to identify the variables most correlated with the desired answer — which implies that […]

Hiring/Staffing Tools and Guidelines — Avoiding the Experience Trap

NOTE: 8th post of a series on an HBR article by Prof. Kishore Sengupta, et al on The Experience Trap. While this point is more general — recommending project-focused decision tools and guidelines — I think PMs need to focus on the specific example given: the impact of staffing decisions. When a manager makes several hires, there […]

Provide Cognitive Feedback — Avoiding the Experience Trap

NOTE: 7th post of a series on an HBR article by Prof. Kishore Sengupta, et al on The Experience Trap.  This starts the transition to answers about how to avoid the distorting effects of past experience on PMs that manage complex projects.  The first suggestion is to add reporting that focuses on insights on performance drivers. […]

Performance Implications of the Experience Trap

NOTE: 6th post of a series on an HBR article by Prof. Kishore Sengupta, et al on The Experience Trap.  To summarize the conclusions based on their experiments: Project managers find it difficult to move beyond the simple mental models based on the simple projects they ran. They ignore complications or use simple heuristics that work only […]

Initial Goal Bias — The Experience Trap

NOTE: 5th post of a series on an HBR article by Prof. Kishore Sengupta, et al on The Experience Trap. Here is another interesting finding from the INSEAD team: project managers get fixated on the original goals of a project and do not adjust even as circumstances change.   This topic is a bit sensitive for a lot […]

Static Estimation Practices — The Experience Trap

NOTE: 4th post of a series on an HBR article by Prof. Kishore Sengupta, et al on The Experience Trap. Re-planning the iron triangle — resources, time, and scope — is essential as a project progresses.  One of the more surprising mistakes experienced project managers make is to accept the original estimate as given. In software […]