During the course of our jobs, many of us are called upon to forecast
trends, markets, or the outcome of a project or product. If you're like me, your
predictions aren't always on the money. In a recent issue of American Demographics, John Mahaffie of Coates & Jarratt, a Washington, D.C., research firm, cites some of the chief reasons for forecasting errors--
Failure to examine assumptions. Does the forecast rest on unlikely or unrealistic social, economic, or technological developments?
Limited expertise. Some people simply get too enthusiastic and overshoot their expertise when making a forecast.
Mahaffie adds that those who develop products must guard against being too enthusiastic about a particular outcome, such as a new technology that they admire or own patents on. While enthusiasm is a necessary ingredient to get projects rolling, we need to add a dose of detachment to insure that our expectations are realistic.