Back to Square One

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We’ve tried it all in our pursuit to create the next runaway software success — fancy processes, expensive tools, powerful computers, bigger budgets, smaller budgets, swankier offices, ‘expert’ consultants, astrology, rabbits’ feet, you name it. But it seems like most of us still fail. We ship late. Our products suck. Our employees quit. Our customers hate us. Why? In "Back to Square One," Nishant Kothary will attempt to answer this elusive question by expanding on insights shared in his prior highly-rated talks, "A Website Named Desire" and "The Elephant in the Room." Much like previous years, this talk will draw from fields like philosophy, psychology, economics, art, even religion, to find its answers. But the $64,000 question is — Will there be pictures of puppies this year? You'll just have to drop by to find out.


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    The Discussion

    • User profile image

      Nicely done.  Really enjoyed this presentation.  Not sure why I liked this presentation so much, other than my own intuition tells me so.

    • User profile image
      Tom Carver

      I think I've come up with a take-home from this, feedback appreciated:

      There are two aspects to our thinking: rational and intuitive. Both are important; but both can be wrong. Sometimes we have to choose between them, and sometimes we judge wrongly. This is fundamentally why projects fail - individual humans making errors of judgement.

      If you want to see how deep the problem runs consider this: most people blame project failure on process, despite the fact that rationally, we can all identify one individual who made the call which sunk the project. Why? Because *intuitively* we do not believe one (or more) individuals should be able to sink a whole team's project; but clearly this is an error of judgement, because they do all the time!

      The decision to lay the blame for project failure at the door of process is in itself a failure to correctly value the rational evidence that people screw up, over the intuitive belief that projects should be immune to this.

    • User profile image

      Great talk!

      Is there any way to get the "reading list handout"?
      The video resolution is too bad for making out the name of the articles you are referencing to in the beginning :(


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