Unskilled and Unaware

Many software organizations are left with the mistaken belief they are doing fine when in actuality they are not.  Individuals in these  organizations actually believe they are doing a “quality” job .   These individuals  have this false belief because they do o not have the fundamental skills necessary to realize they are actually doing a poor job.

One of my favorite psychology papers is called Unskilled and Unaware.  The premise of the paper is when people are incompetent they suffer a dual burden.   First, they reach erroneous conclusions and make bad choices.  Second, their incompetence robs them of their ability to realize they are making bad choices and they are left with the mistaken belief they are doing fine.   Since they think they are doing fine, they will never learn from their mistakes.  They will never make an effort to improve until disaster strikes.

Those skills making one competent in a particular domain are often the very same skills necessary to evaluate competence in the domain.  Because of this, incompetent individuals lack what cognitive psychologists call “metacognition” or self-monitoring skills.  In other words they are just too ignorant to realize they have a problem.

Read more at Reboot! Rethinking and Restarting Software Development.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. http://www.apa.org/journals/features/psp7761121.pdf


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