Founders and Product Managers: Here is How to Detect Your ‘Confirmation Bias’

Paras Chopra, the Chairman & Founder of Wingify, spoke at the ProductGeeks Conference 2018 about ‘cognitive traps’ and how they affect the judgement of Product Managers, and what they can do to avoid them.

In this part of the talk, Paras speaks about the ‘Confirmation Bias’ cognitive trap that affects Product Managers in their decision making when it comes to feedback from users.

Key takeaways:

a. Confirmation bias is hard to detect and one inevitably may fall for it even when knowing of it. Therefore, one way of getting around it is to simply be as critical as possible of questions that are posed to users and how we parse the answers.

b. We pose questions in ways that give confirmatory answers. For example, asking ‘What do you think of this idea/feature’ inside of the product/app is likely to give you answers that are not very helpful. Paras believes this is because we may be cornering users in this manner resulting in answers for the sake of answers.

c. We research online to find facts that support our hypothesis. And this causes ‘bubbles’ to be created which reinforce our biases. Counter evidence is usually ignored and this reflective of real world behaviour as well.

d. We filter information when summarizing and we ‘hear what we want to hear’. Both of which seem to be products of human evolution and psychology and which inevitably play out when attempting to make sense of product decisions.

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