SESSION PROPOSAL: Bitter to Better: Harnessing Pessimism to Improve Products and Lives

What if our belief that optimism is vital for success while pessimism is damaging were wrong? In this surprisingly sunny session, I will cover the science behind how pessimism actually can benefit us, and how I learned to apply it to achieve better products, happier teams, and more satisfied customers. 

This combined talk and group discussion will include summaries of studies that show the benefits of practicing pessimism, as well as practical examples showing how to use strategic doses of pessimism, without driving your optimist teammates crazy. 

Some of the topics covered in these examples include:
- Providing a counter-balance to team over-optimism that leads to avoidable pitfalls in development.
- Catching instances of over-promising in sprints and projects before they happen, without being seen as ‘the negative voice in the room’. 
- Say this instead of that - phrases for saying ‘no’ and providing a voice of realism to help guide your team.
- Earning more trust from your team members when bad news has to be given or things go wrong.

Presenter Bio: Caitlin is an agile project manager working who is fascinated by how things fit together. Her focus is working with distributed and local teams building software products across a range of industries, for clients ranging from early-stage startups to Fortune 50. She is especially interested in helping the different pieces of organizations work better together by applying agile lessons to company operations. 

Forever fascinated with the way great products, agile development, and random nerdy topics interact, she’ll be speaking at Agile Cambridge 2017 this fall on how neuroscience and pessimism can help us work better together, and build better products.