Assignment 1: A Failure of Analysis

Your first assignment is to find and document a failure of analysis. This could be an example drawn from your own experience or found in a magazine, textbook, or website. Potential domains of interest include business strategy, engineering design, environmental planning, military tactics, or international relations. (Naturally, examples taken from the assigned readings are disallowed!)

You should write a short report – not to exceed 1 page in length – that concisely describes the situation, the information serving as input to the analysis process, the nature of the failure, and its consequences. If applicable, describe the failure in terms of the cognitive biases described by Heuer. At the end of your report, suggest ways in which you think improved analysis tools or processes might have prevented the failure.

As an example, you might read Tufte's description of the decision to launch the Challenger space shuttle. While this description has been challenged by others, it nonetheless provides a useful example of a (potential) analysis failure and suggested antidote.

Submission Details

This is an individual assignment due before class at 8am on Monday April 4. Please submit your report as a plain text email to cs448g@cs.