More Time, More Work: How Time Limits Bias Estimates of Project Duration and Scope
79 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2016
Date Written: 2015
We propose that time limits systematically bias predictions of workers’ completion times, even when the limits are uninformative and cannot affect worker’s behavior. We show evidence for this bias in controlled laboratory studies and in a field survey. We find that longer time limits contribute to a misperception that the task involves more work, even for experienced managers making estimates in a familiar setting. This scope and duration bias has important behavioral implications, including an excessive preference for flat fee compensation contracts over contracts based on time spent working.
Keywords: Deadlines, Time Judgments, Scope Perception, Over-learned Response, Estimation Bias
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