Are You Overconfident?

A key problem in creating robust estimates is over-confidence.

Do you experience this problem? Try and give 80% accurate range for answers to the following questions, i.e. a maximum and minimum value for each.

Questions (give a range for each with a maximum and minimum value)

  1. Diameter of the moon, in kilometers (Min, Max)
  2. Year of the Battle of Waterloo (Min, Max)
  3. Population of Switzerland (Min, Max)
  4. Height of Mount Everest above sea level, in feet (Min, Max)
  5. Age of Albert Einstein when he died (Min, Max)

Ok, you should now have written down your responses. If you do not write down your answers, you won’t be able to assess their accuracy below.

Answers (scroll down)

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  1. 3,476km
  2. 1815
  3. 7,593,500
  4. 29,029 ft
  5. 76

How many of the answers fell within the range you gave? It should be at least 4, otherwise you are exhibiting overconfidence.

If you got less than 4 within your range, don’t worry. Over-confidence is common, but do bear it in mind with future estimates.

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