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How your technology project is like the World Cup

A winning sports team understands something fundamental that businesses and government programs can learn from to make their initiatives successful.  Let data drive your strategies to avoid cognitive bias and “gut” feelings that often steer you toward defeat. 

In every match, whether the World Cup, World Series, or Super Bowl, the variables are unique and will never exactly repeat, including the competitors, conditions, coaches, and strategies.  No two games are alike.  Winning teams know how to read the data in real-time and strive toward victory.

Business initiatives are the same way. No two projects are alike, and basing your decisions on past success is a classic form of cognitive bias. For example, a large IT project has so many variables that it would be a mistake to compare it to past projects, stay with your instincts from past performance, and ignore new information offered by a data-driven approach.

In a recent podcast with the Digital Growth Institute, M Corp CEO Alex Castro talked about confirmation bias and other forms of bias that lead executives astray.  

“When you look at any contest, the team that won last year should automatically win this year because they have the formula. Do they?  No.  Why? Conditions change,” he said.  “In every single game, the conditions change, and every single game strategy needs to be adapted and rethought. Execution is the variable as to whether you’re going to win or lose.  And the key is to have the insight and data, in terms of where the misalignment is in your own business, because the model is not statistically replicable. The model doesn’t mean that the next one will work the same way because the conditions are different. The field is different. The players are different. Everything is different. And so we need to adapt and understand that everything is situational in real-time and data is everywhere. You just need to know how to use it.”

Learn more and listen to the podcast with host James Robert Lay here

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