Heuristics for Masterbuilders: Fast and Frugal Ways to Become a Better Project Leader

29 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2022

See all articles by Bent Flyvbjerg

Bent Flyvbjerg

University of Oxford - Said Business School; IT University of Copenhagen; St Anne's College, University of Oxford

Date Written: July 11, 2022

Abstract

Heuristics are fast and frugal rules of thumb, used to simplify complex decisions. First, the paper iden┬Čtifies two schools of thought in heuristics scholarship, one of positive and one of negative heuristics. Second, the paper explains why heuristics work, based on Occam's razor. Third, it outlines five steps for teasing out project leaders' tacit heuristics, illustrating each step with real-life examples. The five steps emphasize the role of Aristotelian phronesis in developing effective heuristics. Fourth, the paper gives examples of project leaders who have deliberated about their heuristics and made them explicit. Finally, the author presents his own heuristics to illustrate in detail how heuristics can work in practice to improve project leadership. Readers are encouraged to develop and improve their own heuristics, and guidance is given for how to do this.

Keywords: Heuristics, masterbuilders, project management, phronesis, behavioral economics, outside view, fat tails, modularity, positive learning.

Suggested Citation

Flyvbjerg, Bent, Heuristics for Masterbuilders: Fast and Frugal Ways to Become a Better Project Leader (July 11, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4159984 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4159984

Bent Flyvbjerg (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Said Business School ( email )

Oxford
Great Britain

IT University of Copenhagen ( email )

Copenhagen
Denmark

St Anne's College, University of Oxford ( email )

Oxford
United Kingdom

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