UCLIC - UCL Interaction Centre


Paper highlights

Each month we highlight a paper authored by members of our academic and research teams. You can find further details of publications and papers on each author's UCL Profiles pages.

To plan or not to plan? A mixed-methods diary study examining when, how and why knowledge work planning is inaccurate

This paper received the CSCW 2020 Honorable Mention award, a significant recognition granted to the top 5% of accepted papers for their exceptional contributions. It explores the nuances of the planning fallacy (optimism in plans) in knowledge work with the aim to inform system design. By asking academics to keep a timesheet diary, the study finds that some tasks, such as email and coding, are more susceptible to time underestimation bias while other tasks, such as writing and planning, are more susceptible to time overestimation bias in planning. Based on interviews, a typology of common reasons for delays in planned daily work is presented. It suggests that vague and optimistic planning leads to the observed discrepancy between planned and actual work. Thanks to this this study, the design of task and time management software and programs are now being improved by acknowledging the planning fallacy.

Yoana Ahmetoglu Y, Brumby DP, Cox AL. To Plan or Not to Plan? A Mixed-Methods Diary Study Examining When, How and Why Knowledge Work Planning Is Inaccurate. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 2021; Volume 4, Issue CSCW3, Article No.222, pp 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1145/3432921