Psychology for Enterprise Architectsposted by John Spacey, September 12, 2012
This is not exactly news — people aren't perfectly logical. We all have emotions and biases that influence decisions and judgments. As Enterprise Architects, it is useful to understand a few common cognitive biases and how they tend to impact EA.
Irrational EscalationThe tendency to throw good money after bad — increasing commitment based on previous losses.
EA example: sunk costs influencing architectural decisions
Neglect of ProbabilityThe tendency to disregard probability when making judgments and decisions.
EA example: rejecting a architectural approach because of perceived security risks (despite the risk being low)
Mere Exposure EffectDislike of the unfamiliar.
EA example: resistance to new strategies
Omission BiasViewing harmful actions as much worse than equally harmful inaction.
EA example: living with architectural problems for fear of being punished for a failed attempt at fixing them.
Hyperbolic DiscountingThe tendency for people to have a stronger preference for more immediate payoffs.
EA example: when tactical approaches are preferred to strategic
ReactanceThe urge to disagree just to assert oneself.
EA example: difficulties getting buy-in for architectural decisions — even when they plainly make sense.
Semmelweis ReflexThe tendency to reject new evidence that contradicts a well accepted paradigm.
EA example: architectural paradigms take decades to change.
Unit BiasThe tendency to want to finish a given phase of work or task.
EA example: continuing with a project everyone knows is doomed.
Zero-risk BiasThe urge to reduce the probability of a small risk to zero — no matter how high the cost.
EA example: excessive focus on security and audits.
Ambiguity EffectAvoiding options that entail a small degree of uncertainty.
EA example: plan-up-front and big bang approaches
Availability CascadeRepeat something enough and it becomes true (or at least people start to believe it).
EA example: successful EA teams employ marketing techniques such as sound bites
Optimism BiasThe tendency to be overly optimistic about the outcome of one's plans.
EA example: unrealistic business cases
Ostrich EffectIgnoring the obvious.
EA example: ignoring obvious business and technology gaps
Well Travelled Road EffectUnderestimation of familiar tasks and overestimation of unfamiliar tasks.
EA example: contributes to resistance to change
Disregard of Regression Toward the MeanExpecting exceptional events to continue.
EA example: over spending on IT in a good financial year and deep cuts in a bad financial year
Endowment EffectPeople demand more to give up something they already have then they would be willing to pay to acquire it.
EA example: when retiring a legacy system users may demand excessive features for the new system.
Similar articles: Psychology for Leaders: 38 Point Cheat Sheet
Technology reference cards (executive overviews).|
A guide to information security including cheat sheets, best practices and checklists.|
Current state architectural blueprints.|
A guide to enterprise software that covers a wide variety of critical enterprise tools.|