Grounding Object-Element #7 of the Kanban

Jim BensonPrimers2 Comments

We discussed the Planning Fallacy in Number Five, but that’s just the tip of the cognitive bias iceberg. The fact is that we are subject to well over a hundred named cognitive biases  like:

So, you can follow the links to get to definitions and evidence for those biases. These biases alter our decision making in sometimes subtle and sometimes gross ways. Largely this is due to us using what Daniel Kahneman calls System 1 thinking.

If you’re eating an ice cream cone and the ball of ice cream starts to shift, you will see that, quickly understand with your ice cream expertise that your ice cream is in danger of falling to the ground, and turn the cone to gently nudge it back into place by licking.

System 1 is our rapid-processing brain. We tend to make snap judgments based on limited evidence and act immediately. Most of the time, this serves us well. As we move through life, we gain experience and that turns into the basis for future fast thinking.

If we had no experience, we would have panicked, grabbing the ice cream with our hands and trying to replace it as it melted and shifted around. Then it would have fallen on the ground. Total ice cream rookie mistake.

But system 1 has its dark side. We also tend to make decisions rapidly when its not warranted. We see something has gone wrong and blame the first person we see. We don’t stop a policy long after it’s outlived its usefulness. We see bad things on television before work and are pessimistic the rest of the day. We interpret all data in ways that support our ideas.

In this case, our system 1 thinking is processing things too quickly. It is actively ignoring vital information that would lead to much better decisions. This is when we should be engaging system 2, which is our more thoughtful, methodical brain. The problem is system 2 needs to be “turned on”. It’s like a laptop in our heads that requires booting before it will do anything.

We live most of our lives in system 1, so much so that we neglect system 2 – often to our detriment.

Therefore, we require something to force us to wake up and … well … think. We need triggers that will engage system 2. This is what I would called “grounding.” Something that brings us down, launches our thoughtfulness, and promotes good decision making.

Kanban and Personal Kanban, through the context discussed in number six can help ground us – to let us know when we need to question our decisions. Visual cues that come from patterns in work flow, bottlenecks, changes in work item types, changes in the mood of participants, and anything else we can see, helps.

It also helps that the kanban is shared and public. While this can lead to group think or other group blindnesses, you still stand a greater chance that someone’s system 2 thinking will be engaged and they will speak up.

This doesn’t end our battle with cognitive bias, unfortunately nothing will do that, but it does help mitigate their impacts.

This is #7 in a 13 part series on the elements of kanban.

Jim BensonGrounding Object-Element #7 of the Kanban

2 Comments on “Grounding Object-Element #7 of the Kanban”

  1. Pingback: 13 Elements Of Kanban | Personal Kanban

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