McLelland’s 3 Needs Theory

People have a need for achievement, affiliation and power.

Herzberg’s 2-Factor Theory

Hygiene and motivators affect performance.

Equity Theory

People compare inputs and outputs to others to determine fairness.

Curse of Knowledge

Inability to recognize that others do not have the same level of knowledge.

Illusion of Control

Overestimation of one’s ability to control activities or events.

Occam’s Razor is Wrong

The danger in relying on Occam’s Razor in decision making.

Parkinson’s Law

Work expands to fill available time.

Gambler’s Fallacy

The belief that one win will lead to another, or past failures necessitate?more failure.

Hanlon’s Razor

Never attribute malice to what can be explained through stupidity.


Selecting a sub-optimal decision for the purpose of saving time.

Sources of Authority

The various ways authority is established by design or organically.

Regression to the Mean

Over time, outcomes tend to average out.

The Experimental Approach

Tackle unknowns through designed experiments and analysis.

Law of Small Numbers

Variability is high in small sample sizes.

Probabilistic Thinking

Thinking in terms of the variability of outcomes rather than in discrete terms.

Success and Luck

Is success largely beyond our control?

Cognitive Switching Penalty

The price you pay for multi-tasking.

The Toxicity of Long Hours

Mental degradation, inefficiencies and other ill effects from overwork.

Contingency Planning

The importance of developing backup plans, because things will go wrong.

Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development

How human beings develop morality with maturity.

Survivorship/Absence Blindness

The tendency to forget or ignore failures. This is the antithesis of learning from your mistakes.

Peak-End Rule

People remember and judge experiences based largely on the peak and the last impression.


Tendency for group members to agree with each other and withhold contrarian views.

Hindsight Bias

Hindsight is 20/20

Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development

How group dynamics evolve over time.

Incentives and Unintended Consequences

Incentives can lead to undesirable behavior, and punishments can provide justification for bad behavior.

Confirmation Bias

Tendency to cherry-pick or distort information to fit a pre-existing viewpoint.


Low skilled people tend to overestimate their abilities and underestimate challenges.

Prior Hypothesis Bias

Tendency to favor a prior hypothesis despite contradictory evidence.

Cognitive Dissonance

Discomfort from contradictory information.

Self-Justification (Rationalizing Behavior)

Common methods of justifying actions/beliefs in light of contradictory information.

System 1 and 2 Thinking

Humans process information quickly using heuristics, but take time to analyze more complex decisions.

Availability Bias

People prefer to use information that is easy to obtain.

Opportunity Cost

The cost of what you are giving up when you make a decision involving scarce resources like time and money.

Sunk Costs

Costs including time and money, which have already been expended.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Existing beliefs create a feedback loop that reinforces the belief or influences its outcome.

Expectancy Theory

People expect effort to lead to performance to lead to rewards.

Contradiction of Passion

Many devs are inspired by passion for making games, but they need to make decisions dispassionately to be successful.