“The Wisdom of Crowds” In Estimating
WRONG: “No one in this world, so far as I know, has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.” -H. L. Mencken
I am in process going through the book “The Wisdom of Crowds.” The book’s point is that large groups of people are smarter than the elite, most brilliant few, at solving problems, making good decisions, stimulating innovation, and predicting the future.
This counter-intuitive point has significant ramifications in estimation, planning and control.
Of course the “crowd” needs to be people who understand the domain and issues of whatever needs to be estimated, such as the size or parameters in a SEER estimate, and they must be motivated to achieve the right answer, not the politically correct, self serving, or wished-for answer, but the truth.
Answering questions such as: Why is the line in which you’re standing always the longest? Why are there traffic jams? What’s the best way to win money on a game show?
I find this interesting on many levels as well as pointing out why our estimate by comparison function works so well when a team provides the answers.
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