Intra-project communication becomes more and more challenging with increasing team sizes. When team size increase so does the number of different communication channels. Every team member can communicate with every other team member. Mathematically it looks like this:
number of communication channels = n(n-1)/2, n=team size

In a team with two persons we get one communication channel and everything is fine. With too many communication channels synchronisation and distribution of information becomes increasingly difficult. I’m sure everyone has experienced that.

XP recommends maximum 10 and Scrum recommends 7 +/- 2. However Jeff Sutherland experienced that the hyper productive teams he encountered were never larger than 7 people. He advices us to split up any team larger than 7 people into multiple teams.

Amazon recommends 2PT – “Two Pizza Team”, which is a team size no larger than 2 pizzas can feed. You be the judge of how many that is…

3 Responses to “What is the optimal team size?”

I love the 2PT method. All of my management experience is at the volunteer level, but I do observe management at work. It is fun to watch how management is constantly changing from the flat model to the pyramid (with steep sides) model. But that is hard to visualize. The ‘Two Pizza Team’ is a great visualization. Now the question is, how big are the pizza’s and how hungry is your team? ;-)

-Thom

[...] What is the optimal Team Size [...]

[...] time. Too many developers on the other hand lead to communication overhead and get ineffective says Jens: Intra-project communication becomes more and more challenging with increasing team sizes. When [...]

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