This Guest paper was submitted for publication and is copyright to Mark A. Seely© 2016.
Published here March 2017

PART 2 | Editor's Note & Table of Contents
Chapter 4: Level 1 - Process Management | Level 1 Management | Performance
Chapter 5: Level 2 - Project Management | Level 2 Management | Performance
Chapter 6: Sociolytic Mindscaping  | Analysis of Analysis | Custom vs. the Standard Stereotype
Open System vs. a Closed System Stereotype | Governance versus Management
Level 2 in a Level 4 World - Much Simpler than Possible | Gaming Systems | PART 4

Analysis of Analysis

So we concur — you are right and the world is wrong. But, what in the world is the world thinking? As we illuminate this mismatching phenomenon with analysis of our analyses, there is some useful terminology that comes into play.

"Analytics" — is the term reserved for analyses that adhere to sound analytic method, i.e. strict adherence to the principles of science. Bona fide analytics test hypotheses objectively and sufficiently with the intent to achieve an accurate result.

"Pseudo analytics" — are a facsimile of analytics, often referred to as analyses but with the intent to mislead. Analyses are designed to achieve an outcome other than as would be derived using an accurate and sufficient analytic method. Pseudo analytics is a deliberate subterfuge, an analytic malfeasance

"Sociolytics" — are a facsimile of analytics, entertained by society as being analyses but within limits of comfort. Self-imposed constraints on the solution resulting from misconceptions, tailoring to belief systems, or simply avoiding discomfort, is a game we play with ourselves to evade an inconvenient truth. This behavior renders us simultaneously comfortable and wrong. This is a more insidious problem as we willingly do it to ourselves.

Project management analyses are replete with sociolytic fallacies. A project team that forges ahead to achieve success on our behalf must first confront the warped perspective and turn it in favor of reality — truth being the first casualty in war.


To enhance the water cooler talk, the following terms can also be added to the lexicon:

  • Argument from Authority (Argumentum ad Vercecundiam) — fallacy of appealing to authority, ceding your own good analyses to that of a recognized and respected voice — The big company over there said it, therefore, it must be right. This is fallacious if the respected voice is wrong.
  • Cognitive Bias — believing what you want to believe.
  • Band Wagon Effect — suggests that if everyone is doing it, we should as well.
  • Conflict of Interest — the analyst has a vested interest in a particular result that obscures analytic integrity.
  • Group Think — substitute pride of membership or belonging for reasoned analyses.
  • Over Simplification — covering up complexities — the appeal to simpler than possible.
  • Stereotyping — using a generalization that does not apply to the whole group — for example, project management as the panacea.
  • Traditional Wisdom — argumentation that a convention is good because it has been used in the past — we do it this way, therefore we will do it this way.

It is hoped that, by putting a name to the phenomenon, we can spot these behaviors as they occur.

Chapter 6: Sociolytic Mindscaping  Chapter 6: Sociolytic Mindscaping

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