Recognizing Cognitive Biases that Affect Your App Management

May 25, 2021

Cognitive bias. You’ve probably heard the term before, but what exactly is it? Cognitive bias is the way our brains process the context and framing of information to influence our decisions and judgments. When we make choices, we tend to think we’re making an objective and logical evaluation of all the information available to us. However, these biases tend to creep into the daily decision-making of our lives, and can end up causing more issues than what you started with. These biases can also affect parts of our work life, including the tools we use and how we use them. This can make work frustrating, and seem impossible to grasp something. In fact, with the rise of so many tools, 43 percent of employees believe that they have to switch between too many apps just to get basic work done. However, understanding these cognitive biases and how they affect the way we manage our apps can improve our workflow in the future. So, be mindful of the following biases that can affect the apps you use:

Optimism Bias

Optimism bias affects almost all of us, with about 80% of all people having optimism bias at any given time. When it comes to several aspects of our lives, we always want to try and see the positive side of things. While situations may not seem that great on the surface, the optimism bias tries to find a silver lining and expect a positive outcome. This bias can affect your work and the kind of tools you use to effectively get projects done.

How it affects app management

With the optimism bias, people on your team might think they can accomplish goals and deadlines for a project without needing to spend money on extra features or different tools. The idea is that money not spent can be used towards other investments that would boost the company. While it sounds like a great idea at first, those tools could actually improve your workflow and boost productivity. Essentially, you could be missing out on great opportunities by not putting the money towards useful apps.

How to avoid it

Have multiple different perspectives when discussing new tools to use. It’s true, no one wants to waste money on ineffective tools, but having a sound mind that can recognize when something can be useful for your business is just as important. Discuss the issues that your company faces currently, and then talk about if there are apps that can address those problems. If it’s effective, the cost will be worth it.

Sunk Cost Fallacy

Sunk costs are a common problem that businesses face. When you put money into a product, service, or investment, the natural reaction is to keep using it until you get the reward you’re looking for; otherwise, it feels like wasted money. By not cutting your losses and moving on, more time and resources get spent on the investment, causing a business to lose even more money.

How it affects app management

As a modern team, you’re constantly trying to find new tools and apps that support your team and bring you closer together. Putting money into any kind of investment can be risky, especially if you don’t see the results right away. Because of that, businesses will continue to use these tools despite not getting the expected results, even though they would be better off looking for newer and better options.

How to avoid it

Make sure to evaluate your opportunity costs. Yes, spending money on an app and not using it can feel like a waste, but the alternative is finding a platform that actually benefits your company and addresses the issues you were facing at the beginning. For instance, if you’re looking to streamline all communication and digital resources with your team, it’s better to look for a tool that actually can do that, rather than staying loyal to a less-than-ideal app that only provides half the benefits. 

The Complexity Trap

The complexity bias is when we give undue credit to complex situations over simple ones. When we’re faced with a problem, people tend to choose the complex solution rather than the easy one, because we believe the easy one is an inadequate solution. This can mean we choose the more difficult route when performing tasks, rather than using a simplified approach.

How it affects app management

When it comes to finding the right tool, we typically want one that does it all, or can be expanded upon as we move forward. When we see an app that has the singular solution we need, but compare it to one that accomplishes the same thing, but with a whole lot of added features that we really do not need, we tend to go for the second. This can lead to more confusion and more costs.

How to avoid it

Even if you might end up using those additional features in the years to come, go for the simple solution that solves the issue you had. Getting carried away with too many apps that use too many features can overwhelm us. By knowing exactly what you’re getting with a tool, it causes less stress for you and your team.

Anchoring Effect

Our brains are filled with information every single day. From emails to calls to projects and more, we subconsciously try to filter out what’s important to remember. With the anchoring effect, our brains usually tell us that the first piece of information we hear is the most relevant. Anything after that is harder to remember, or seems less valuable.

How it affects app management

When brainstorming new apps that your company can use, many people could have several ideas that they think would work. However, once the meeting is over, the app that everyone agreed upon is most likely the one they’ve heard about most. This can mean you lose out on some potentially better apps for your workplace, causing you to backtrack or struggle with the chosen app if it doesn’t perform the way you want it to.

How to avoid it

Make sure to hear out all input and do your own research when discussing new apps to use. Listen to everyone’s idea thoroughly, and make sure to investigate each app to see all the benefits and how it can be used for your team. Use free trials to your advantage when looking at all of your app options. This way, you can more accurately see how it integrates into your business, giving you the opportunity to find the app that’s perfect for your team.

How To Conquer All Your Biases In App Management 

By recognizing your cognitive biases, and working to find better solutions, you can find the right tools that will benefit your team and your business.

Even when choosing what app is right to use, getting them organized and actually ensuring you get the most out of them as a whole can be even trickier. With, you can keep and manage all of your work tools in one place. From sharable and collaborative workspaces to instant messaging, your business can efficiently focus on the projects that make customers happier.

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