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I love the book The Mythical Man-Month by Fred Brooks. It explains that adding more people to a late software project only serves to makes it later.
I can confirm that this is true. It’s a myth to think that throwing bodies at a problem can solve the problem. Instead, identifying the root cause of the issue is often the more effective approach.
However, did you know that adding more people to a software project that is actually running on time can result in making the project late too?
Want to know why?
Team efficiency decreases.
The bigger a team gets, the more complex its communication becomes. Trust and healthy conflict become harder because there are more people on the team, each with their own goals and opinions. And, the more complex the team’s communication becomes, the harder it is to have a high functioning team. While individuals on a team may be humming away, the efficiency of the entire team often suffers, and results in missed deadlines, low morale and low quality code.
So, instead of adding a dozen engineers to your software project rapidly, focus on slow and steady growth and prioritize team efficiency.
How? It’s not easy, but it is possible to improve team efficiency over time. Do these things to start:
And then, as you feel you have a nice level of trust and healthy conflict, go ahead and scale your team by hiring new employees onto it. Just be realistic about the amount of effort and energy that it will take for reform and iterate on becoming and staying a high functioning team as you continue to scale.
For an in-depth deep dive into how to improve team communication, check out our ebook on improving team communication with 5 easy steps.
Debbie has over 20 years of experience in NYC tech. She is passionate about helping businesses improve through software. As CEO, Debbie has unparalleled leadership experience in the technology space - she built 4 companies from the ground up prior to co-founding Stride.
With a reputation as a passionate woman executive in technology, Debbie is a sought after writer and speaker. She has appeared in popular media outlets such as Harvard Business Review, Huffington Post, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal.
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Posted February 12, 2016