Why are Small Development Teams so much more Productive?

For anyone that has read “The Mythical Man Month” this should really come as no surprise but there is a very simple way to see and understand why the larger the team you have – the slower you’ll actually develop.

Its all about communication.  In an ideal world every member of the team will share everything they are doing with the rest of the team and each of them will share their updates with everyone else.  In this scenario everyone would know what is going on and there wouldn’t be mistakes or duplication due to lack of communication.

In fact when you develop by yourself (team of 1) there’s not even the possibility of communication issues because you have no one that you need to share info with… and no one you depend on for critical data.

If your team is 2, you have 2 channels of communication to maintain… A to B… and B to A

Team of 3? now you’re up to 6 channels… and it keeps growing exponentially.

Even with a team of 10 people your communication channels jumps up to a massive 90 communication channels! # of channels = (n * (n-1))


So whenever you are embarking on a new project try to keep the team size as small as you can while still enough to be effective.  If your team is part of a bigger organization be sure to have a “Point Person” that is the one who interfaces with other teams to both broadcast updates and collect any info from external sources that is to be passed to the team.

Managing Communication is key to not getting caught in a project that just seems to stall and run in circles.


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