Thinking systems: how to avoid anchoring, biases, group think and other nuisances

10–12th May 2017 at thestudio

A 45 minute Tutorial by:

John Clapham


About this Tutorial

Agile methods encourage creativity through collaboration - but those ideas, and our responses to others, are filtered through our own perceptions. Most worrisome are the kind of perceptions that we've unknowingly built up and curated over many years, until we are barely aware of them.

Working in groups can improve things, and we've learnt to value the wisdom of crowds. But group think creeps in with alarming ease, depriving the team of diversity and breadth of experience.

In this session, we look at the theory behind cognitive biases and their significance to agile methods. We look at how to harness our biases, and when to circumvent them. We investigate the impact of biases on group behaviour, and look at techniques to limit their impact.

The session aims to help participants:

  1. Improve their decision making in terms of speed, quality or diversity of input. This applies to both individual thinking and working with teams.
  2. Improve their interactions (conversation, coaching, facilitation) by recognising when their words or actions may be affected by biases.

The session is energetic, interactive and fun, whilst covering some advanced concepts. Throughout, concepts are linked to agile and business challenges (such as recruitment) and reinforced with practical examples. There are strong coaching and change themes, as biases will often hamper improvement and collaboration.

Sections include:

  • introducing cognitive biases, and explaining how they affect our thinking and perceptions
  • explaining causes of bias, including dual process thinking theories (including Kahneman's system 1 & 2)
  • introducing the six think hats technique, showing how elements of it can be used everyday in meetings and coaching, without the need for the full ceremony
  • About the Speaker

    John Clapham is an independent coach, trainer and consultant. Founder of Cotelic, he specialises in DevOps and agile, helping teams to build great products, and organisations to become more effective, productive and enjoyable to work in. His broad experience in software development ranges from start-up to enterprise scale, formed in the publishing, telecommunications, commerce, defense and public sector arenas.


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