Why Small Teams Win And Bigger Ones Fail

How many people do you need to design a great product?

Eugen Eşanu
Aug 7, 2018 · 8 min read
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Jeff Bezos has a rule at Amazon, or perhaps more aptly a philosophy. If a team cannot be fed by two pizzas then that team is too large — Forbes

Nobody cancelled a basic design rule which states: quality is always better than quantity.

The Ringleman effect

Nike’s HTM

2002–2010
2012–2014

The LEGO study


Keep the team as small as possible. Metcalfe’s law which states that “the effect of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system” has a corollary when it comes to project teams. The efficiency of the team is approximately the inverse of the square of the number of members in the team. I’m beginning to think three people is the optimal for a 1.0 product release. Start out by reducing the number of people you plan to add to the team, and then reduce some more — Marc Hedlund


When things aren’t working…

But why do we still scale teams like crazy even though this does not work so well?

Once you have a very, very large budget, you actually look for expensive things to spend it on — Rory Sutherland

Throwing more people at a problem is a “factory mentality” which means that if more people work on something, more outputs or better the result you get.

It’s of course challenging…


One more thing

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Eugen Eşanu

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Designing and thinking at Shosho.co