📬 The Backlog

📬 The Backlog is Thomas van Zuijlen's weekly newsletter on practical agility, with annotated articles on Scrum, facilitation, collaboration, and (product) development.

1 August 2022

📬 The Backlog #188

What the difference is between good managers and bad managers, how using mental models may harm our decision-making, and why we can’t code fake news out of existence.

  1. Peter Hilton’s article Good manager/bad manager is a beautiful, affinity-mapped list of “choices that managers make and you can too”. Care, include, communicate, respect, build.

    “Bad managers claim that their employee left the company ‘for personal reasons’. Good managers acknowledge their own organisation’s part in someone’s employment ending.”

  2. The way humans cope with complexity in order to make decisions while confronted by an overload of information, can have harmful consequences for our decision-making.

    Facilitator Augusto Cuginotti explains how we tend to use mental models for sense-making, but if those models are not challenged or expanded upon, they’ll cause us to - literally - overlook stimuli outside our adopted field of vision.

    Cuginotti’s Reality Bias: How Our Tendency to Simplify Causes Us to Miss Out is a bit of a dense read, but it’s also a good refresher on various cognitive biases. We cannot achieve objective or complete perception of the world, but we can stretch our perception muscles by seeking out divergent stimuli: identifying and challenging your biases.

    Applies to life, your social feed, and your Product Backlog Refinements: Reality bias, writes Cuginotti, “can have dangerous consequences if it prevents individuals from exploring a complete aspect of reality and considering more possibilities. This can lead to biases in decision-making, missed opportunities and a lack of understanding of our world.”

  3. Christopher Guess is the lead technologist at the Duke University Reporters’ Lab. He researches disinformation and spoke at the event May Contain Hackers here in the Netherlands. His talk Tech didn’t cause misinformation, and it won’t solve it (by itself) was recorded and is a fascinating 45-minute watch for anyone working in tech interested in the spread of mis- and disinformation.

    We can’t code fake news out of existence, explains Guess in his talk:

    “It is deceptively easy to see misinformation as a data problem, as a societal issue of algorithms run amok on soulless social media platforms. However, just because the delivery of misinformation is purely technical, it doesn’t mean that the cause, or solution, is also technical.”

Have an interesting week and Scrum on,
Thomas van Zuijlen