Measure Intangibles

Short on Facts


I am running a workshop at the Project Management conference this week. It's a very interactive session with software, so this is not a substitute, just a precis of the presentation part.

I’m A Speaker

Project Failure Is often just failure of Estimation.

We can get good at measuring cadence, and we can get a handle on development effort. But how good are we at estimating Benefit? or Risk?

Not just Dollars.

How likely is something to happen? Law change, Financial crisis or Sentiment change (plastic bags, Facebook)

Not just Projects either:

Acquisitions, Joint Venture, Re-organisations all happen with insufficient facts to make the decision easily.

What are facts anyway?

They are just measurements of something, and the measurements are full of errors. This graph shows how accurate the law requires our speedometers to be- you may be shocked. Speedo Accuracy

So when we are short of facts, we can use opinion. Opinion is valuable, useful. But we need techniques to gather opinons systematically, using their strengths while avoiding potential sources of bias.

One of the great things about opinions is there are so many of them. The old story- ask three economists, you are going to get four opinions. And that's a good thing, because it turns out if you have many opinions the things that are right about them tend to reinforce and the things that are wrong tend to cancel out.

You can measure how good someone is at giving opinions through something called a Brier score- it's a very simple, uncheatable measure that takes into account how often you are right, and how confident you are that you are right. See How Good are Your Estimates

And what you can measure, you can improve. You can be trained, and train others, to give better, more reliable opinions. See Can You Learn to Estimate

You can also train yourself to be better at taking opinions from others. Just the way you interact with them can steer them away form unconscious biases.

There is a printable PDF infographic depicting AcuteIP.com's approach to using the Wisdom of your Crowd

With preparation, you can do this yourself. AcuteIP.com offers a set of services to make it easy, from workshops and technical services to managing the whole exercise.
Contact Graham.Harris at AcuteIP.com to explore possibilities.

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