Heuristics for Masterbuilders: Fast and Frugal Ways to Become a Better Project Leader

Research output: Working paperResearch


Heuristics are fast and frugal rules of thumb, used to simplify complex decisions. First, the paper iden¬tifies two schools of thought in heuristics scholarship, one of positive and one of negative heuristics. Second, the paper explains why heuristics work, based on Occam's razor. Third, it outlines five steps for teasing out project leaders' tacit heuristics, illustrating each step with real-life examples. The five steps emphasize the role of Aristotelian phronesis in developing effective heuristics. Fourth, the paper gives examples of project leaders who have deliberated about their heuristics and made them explicit. Finally, the author presents his own heuristics to illustrate in detail how heuristics can work in practice to improve project leadership. Readers are encouraged to develop and improve their own heuristics, and guidance is given for how to do this.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2022


  • Heuristics
  • Masterbuilders
  • Project Management
  • Phronesis
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Outside View
  • Fat Tails
  • Modularity
  • Positive Learning


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