It is three months after shipping. You may have moved on to something else, but you’re eager to figure out if this worked and that it drove the expected results. It’s nagging you. You’re curious. You schedule a talk to the whole engineering team (100+ individuals) to share your learnings. What do you present?
Beat the Feature Factory: Run Pre-cap Design Studios
John Cutler

So there’s this guy named Phil Tetlock — a political scientist — whose research describes two modes of thinking in groups: confirmatory thought vs. exploratory thought.

Tetlock says that almost all of the arguments we make are one-sided attempts to rationalize our point of view — that is, we typically engage in only “confirmatory thought.”

“Exploratory thought,” he says, is much more rare. It’s an even-handed, more systematic and self-critical approach, less likely to jump to premature conclusions, and more likely be revised in response to evidence.

This proposal you wrote sounds like it might induce exploratory thought. Tetlock argues this mode of thinking is rare because it only occurs when three conditions are true:

  1. decision-makers learn before forming an opinion that they will be accountable to an audience
  2. the audience’s views are unknown
  3. they believe the audience is well-informed and interested in accuracy

Imagining a presentation to the whole team that would share future learnings sure feels like it could create all three of those conditions.

(Hope I didn’t hijack what you meant here, but I love your proposal and Tetlock’s stuff felt like a nice link.)

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