Recency bias can pose a threat to the success of your project. Here we analyse what it is, how some individuals and groups can be more susceptible to it and how to counteract it.
What is recency bias?
Recency bias is a phenomenon where a person remembers the recent happenings, but can’t recall past events. A person with recency bias is detached from the historical data and project reports, which is why he tends to believe that whatever is happening now will happen later or will keep happening.
How this can impacts stakeholders’ perception
Stakeholders’ involvement in the project varies depending on their influence and interest (stakeholder mapping). The project manager is involved at every step of the project, but not all stakeholders are as intimate with the project. If something goes wrong with the project, stakeholders whose time is valuable, will not go through all the past reports. They will only look into the recent one that highlights something ‘wrong’ and will come to a solution based on that. And as they aren’t aware of all the details, you can’t just inundate them with data. You need to put in place steps and systems that reduce the likelihood of recency bias and how susceptible your project is to it.
Counteracting recency bias
- Identify the stakeholders as per their influence and interest– We have always said that stakeholder mapping is an ideal first step. Besides this, you should also identify stakeholders who you think are more susceptible to recency bias.
- Use a stakeholder engagement software that offers them–
- Data visualization tools – You should make use of stakeholder engagement software that comes equipped with features to represent data in a summarized form, through images or videos and with a complete background that includes the history of the project or program you are engaging on. Making reports, a timeline and external links fully accessible 24/7 allows full transparency and accessibility for stakeholders.
- Provides context-based results – It becomes easier and more relevant when you can support your point with project links that enable you to provide a list of external websites or supporting documents.
- Allows for open dialogue – The more connected the stakeholders are, the better it is for the project and the less likely recency bias can occur. Your stakeholder engagement software should come with features that encourage community discussion such as Engagement Hub’s interactive mapping, community chat, surveys, quick polls, FAQs, etc.
In short, your stakeholder engagement software should have everything to avoid recency bias. It should be proficient enough to deliver accurate data, provide context and allow for interaction and engagement all within one place.
Engagement Hub offers unique software that combines the technical capabilities of a stakeholder relationship management system and community engagement software.
To find out more about the features offered by an Engagement Hub platform, visit our website, view our demo site or book a virtual call with one of our engagement experts for a demo and discussion of your needs and objectives.