The Programmer's Guide to People: Assumptions
Reviewing the assumptions that provide the foundations for the way we work is difficult. We quickly become attached to those assumptions and find them hard to reject as new evidence appears. Confirmation Bias means we often miss new information that contradicts our status quo and heavily favour information that confirms it. Reviewing our assumptions has a cost in both time and mental effort. Changing assumptions often involves conflict and it may take considerable effort to reach a new consensus. We often prefer the simpler option of continuing to work in the same way but as the world around us evolves and we get left further behind our ability to compete or even retain staff will be diminished.
Whilst it would be great to always have proof, our survival relies on assumptions. Our day to day dealings with a complex world require us to use them to make decisions in a timely manner. Without assumptions we would be paralysed but our assumptions can also paralyse our ability to improve and innovate. We must recognise assumptions for what they are; a best guess that allows us to move forward until we discover more.
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