March 29, 2012

how to limit bias?

I had this thought that in order to make a robust decision > you have to eliminate/limit bias. What is the easiest way to do that? I would suggest that i.e. during team decision making it should be each individual to acknowledge one's bias and limit it (some help from other members is allowed, though).

In one article, the researchers listed 76 biases and groupped them in 5 categories. How on earth would one control that amount of biases?????? Try to think of them before saying each sentence ;)

What is more, one of the biases was cultural bias. Now this is something I've come across, it's quite obvious in some cases, however it is obvious for listeners, not for the person who is saying.... The battle with bias seems to be lost right at the start...

March 28, 2012

making a decision? take it easy

In one of the articles, I found an interesting way to making a decision - going by default.

Hoy & Tarter (2010, p. 353) wrote:

"As a first step, one should consider the alternative of inaction. At worst, the default will be rejected and the
decision maker forced into action. At best, the problem will disappear without further action, which is unlikely, but does occur"

If you think about it, it's not that rare (at least in my case). Sometimes when I take time to make a decision there might be someone who can help me out and I will come across him/her - just by a chance and the decision will not be a problem any more... Would you agree?

Hoy, W. K., & Tarter. C. J. (2010). Swift and smart decision making: heuristics that work. International Journal of Educational Management, 24 (4), 351-358.

March 27, 2012

how sure are you?

Going through some articles that could be useful for the PMA, in one of them they stated that the outcome of the decision is dependent on many various random and non-controllable and/or non-predictable effects. I guess that it is easy to imagine (imagination bias, yeah I know) for complex issues and decisions related with them.

If this was true, then it could be said that it is impossible to predict the outcome (i.e. success or failure) of the decision - never thought about that, really. We could probably try to estimate success rate, by breaking the issue down into smaller bits, might be difficult but at least gives some expectations.

March 10, 2012

people's aspects of decision making

After the RDM module one thing stayed in my mind. We shouldn't believe in what others say unless we have got evidence, as their views might be biased.

I decided to check it out the other day at work. One of the operators told me he might know the cause of one of our problems. In many cases operators' ideas are helpful. However in this case after he told me the idea I asked him 'is it really the casue?' He kept saying it is and I kept saying it is not, unless he shows me some evidence. It didn't take long before I had to stop this game, as he got more and more frustrated - as he wanted to help and I didn't want to listen. This is a leadership aspect which should be taken into account. It was interesting to see his behaviour in this situation, as normally I wouldn't act like that, thus he acts differently.

March 09, 2012


cherry-picked guesstimate...

March 03, 2012

decision database in your brain

Our decisions are greatly affected by our past experience and knowledge. I noticed that at work, more senior engineers often see bigger picture i.e. of problems we encounter. Because they might have come across then previously, they can act very fast when necessary. On the other hand, we know that our beliefs might be biased.

How does one gain knowledge that is not biased? Is it the case of always acting on data and using it in the future only if the situation is roughly the same? I guess this might be it, I remember that my manager told me once:

if I told you it is raining, you go and check it yourself and then you might say it is raining.

February 29, 2012

decisions – looking behind the scenes

How often do we assess someone's decisions? It happens all the time, especially in politics. We always blame them for bad decisions and never seem to see any good things they've done (I'm not saying there are any like that!).

One of the things my nation keeps blaming the politicians for is the way they opened our market in early 1990s. These days we believe that any valuable companies in very profitable industries (i.e. mining, shipyards etc) had been sold for nothing and now after 20 years all profits were exploited and we're left with nothing.

What we never think of, is why they did that. Was it really the case they didn't care for the country? Or maybe they did, and they thought that it was the right thing to do - but why did they think so, based on what? Did they know something we didn't (and still don't) know? If I could olny know that... maybe they weren't wrong, maybe it's just a fact that it's impossible to foresee all inputs when making a decision?

February 28, 2012

comments to today's session

A couple of thoughts to some of the examples from the class:

session 3, p. 11 (print-out) - Ad Hominem example. The point is that you can't say that someone had been wrong plenty of times before, so he must be wrong again. I agree with that. But can we say because he was wrong in the past, there IS a PROBABILITY that he might be wrong again? That could still affect the audience (the way we want) but would be true :)

session 3, p. 12 (print-out) - hasty generalisation. The example was: few bad cars don't mean the brand is of poor quality. I agree with that, fair enough. However, I believe that the example is miising one key thing - it didn't mention the sample size. I know that most of us would argue that this goes without a saying, and a sample of 500k+ cars was assumed (volumes of big car manufacturers). But if the sample was 5k and 1000 cars were not good then 'few bad car, really mean poor quality.

session 3, p. 13 (print-out) - circular reasoning made me think of people who when trying to come up with a definition of a particular word, use the word (they are trying to define!) in the definition. That's unacceptable...

February 27, 2012

entertainment stuff ;)

Writing about web page /akshaykothari/entry/teen_patti_a/

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

Having read the article mentioned above, I wanted to share with you with a song (for a change).

The song helps me with my ADD ;) Enjoy

P.S. Forgot to paste the link for the first time - hopeless case!

judgement quiz

On our first day of RDM, we had a go at 'judgement quiz'. Somehow, it was one of the most difficult tests over the last 5 years or so, but that's not the point.

There were two questions that caught my attention:

2. Estimate the percentage of word in the English language that begin with the letter ''a''.

3. Estimate the percentage of words in English language that have the letter ''a'' as their third letter.

To estimate the first value, I thought that there are roughly 24 letters in the alphabet - then there should be 4% of all words beginning with ''a''. However, if anyone used a dictionary in the past one will know that some letters are more and some less popular. If I remember right, there were quite a few pages for ''a'' words so I had a guess it's 7%.

Then for the next question, I tried to come up with some words meeting criteria and I found only 1... This is not the case of English not being my native language - I had a go in Polish and the result was the same! However, I somehow felt there might be more of them, but since 7% above was high and I lack knowledge I went for 2%. It turned out that the answer was 9% so my feeling was true!

The problem is that I lacked proof, and had more data about the second question hence the results. What was wrong with my thinking? Would my answer be correct if i.e. in the past I had seen a list of words with ''a'' being 3rd letter (as I had a change with ''a'' being the first)? At the end of the day, all decision will be made on what we know. Here, I knew I lack information so my way was based on what I knew better - I know it's a risky approach, but at least I could base my decision on some data from the past. On the other hand, I could have questioned if my estimate for the second question was right - but then would you question all the knowledge you have? You must make up your mind based on something, otherwise next time I will be questioning if 2+2 = 4 - maybe I'm wrong?

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  • I had a think about this entry and I guess we all agree that we can't eliminate bias. On one of the … by on this entry
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