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Redefining confidence: Cognitive biases in an architect's life

Redefining confidence: Cognitive biases in an architect's life

Keynote at the O'Reilly Software Architecture Conference in Berlin.


At the time of writing this, Wikipedia’s “Cognitive bias codex” has more than 200 entries, and it feels to me like Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast and Slow” is referenced in every other conference talk I’m watching. It’s official: Human beings are just not the rational thinkers we like to think we are.

In this talk, I go through just a few of the cognitive biases that can trip us up as architects, and how to soften their potentially negative impact.

Birgitta Boeckeler

November 07, 2019

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  1. Redefining Confidence Birgitta Böckeler | @birgitta410

  2. You do have in-depth technical knowledge. But you often use

    words that make your statements sound weaker.
  3. You could be even more confident.

  4. Thank you, I will consider that. But... You could be

    even more confident.
  5. “People are generally rational” “Emotions explain the exceptions” Daniel Kahneman,

    „Thinking fast and slow“
  6. People are generally rational Emotions explain the exceptions What we

    usually assume Cognitive Biases
  7. 7 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Cognitive_bias_codex_en.svg

  8. Confirmation Bias Tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall

    information in a way that confirms our existing beliefs
  9. 9

  10. Confirmation Bias et al Don’t repeat yourself, ever.

  11. Software development is full of uncertainty

  12. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/04/uncertainty-stressful-research-neuroscience

  13. Zero Risk Bias Our preference for reducing a small risk

    to zero over a greater reduction in a overall risk.
  14. Zero Risk Bias Security Avoiding Lock-in Premature optimization

  15. Availability Heuristic Our tendency to think that if something can

    be easily recalled, it must be important
  16. Use models

  17. Use models Threat modelling Security

  18. Use models “Don’t get locked up in avoiding lock-in” Gregor

    Hohpe https://martinfowler.com/articles/oss-lockin.html Avoiding Lock-in
  19. Be explicit about trade-offs

  20. Do Be Agile https://agilemanifesto.org/

  21. Software delivery is full of uncertainty

  22. Architecture is “the important stuff that people perceive as hard

    to change” - Martin Fowler
  23. Learning from our decisions

  24. Outcome Bias Our tendency to evaluate the quality of a

    decision based on the outcome of that decision.
  25. Outcome Bias Outcome Decision ?

  26. Outcome Bias Outcome Decision ?

  27. Outcome Bias

  28. Distinguish skill from luck Annie Duke, “Thinking in Bets” &&

  29. ”...given what we knew at the time, our skills and

    abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.”
  30. Self-serving Bias When we ascribe success to our own abilities

    and efforts, but blame failure on external factors
  31. || “Redefining right” Annie Duke, “Thinking in Bets”

  32. Be explicit about trade-offs

  33. Write Architecture Decision Records

  34. Outcome bias Confirmation Bias Zero Risk Bias Availability Heuristic Self-serving

    bias More
  35. “You could be even more confident.” What does that even

  36. “You could be even more confident.” What does that even

    mean? Do I really want to?
  37. “I’m not sure” Asking questions Changing my mind

  38. “Using uncertainty to our advantage” - Annie Duke

  39. How confident are you about your confidence?

  40. Birgitta Böckeler | @birgitta410

  41. None