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The Psychology of Biases

The Psychology of Biases: Why Some Folks Are Averse to Better Development Practices

For this meeting we are very privileged to have Stephen Ritchie presenting on a topic inspired by a chapter from his book on software best practices.

Are you convinced that test-driven development (TDD) will benefit your team, but you find some developers view the practice as unproductive and unhelpful? Are you the lone voice advocating for continuous integration (CI), really convinced it will bring huge benefits, but others don't want to listen? Do you see the wisdom of secure-by-design and actively assessing software security, yet management feels that they've avoided any problems so far and assume they'll continue to avoid problems.

Research tells us that the information we take in depends on a person’s assumptions, aversions, biases, and preconceptions. Broadly speaking, psychologists and scientists call these cognitive biases. People who study organizational behavior use their understanding of cognitive biases to bring important improvements and change to individuals, teams, and organizations.

Come learn about common cognitive biases that impact development teams. Let's explore strategies to identify and cope with seemingly irrational decisions against new and better practices. Through specific examples, learn some straightforward ways that may help you manage the opposition you encounter that can hold teams back.

Stephen Ritchie is the author of Pro .NET Best Practices ( and the organizer of the DC ALT .NET group ( He has been writing software professionally for over 20 years. Stephen works as a software development consultant at Excella Consulting in the Washington, D.C. area. His passion for following best practices has taught him to appreciate the value of experience, practical know-how, and continuous learning. Stephen is the .NET best practices steward at Excella Consulting, working with .NET project teams to facilitate and sort out the helpful practices from the unhelpful ones, the practicable from the impracticable, and the "sounds good" from the "it really is good" practices and principles.

We will meet at TEKsystems in Linthicum. There is plenty of free parking in front of the building. The meeting will start at 7:00 PM. If you get there after 7:00 and find yourself locked out, you will find our phone number posted on the front door. Call the number and someone will come to let you in. Don't be embarrassed - happens all the time.

We will provide a little time for networking before the meeting, so you are welcome to arrive a few minutes early for pizza and conversation.

Many thanks to TEKsystems for hosting this meeting and providing pizza and soft drinks.

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