Sunday, August 28, 2011

2 Pizza Team




imageArrange a Pizza party (not Pasta nor Burgers) before formulating a team structure for a project !    No, this is not to celebrate commencement of work, but to ensure an effective team.  

How can Pizza (not Pasta nor Burgers) help in defining the team structure ?    Let me tell you the story…

I was watching a documentary about the devastating earth quake that hit New Zealand some time back and the way city was rebuilt. The documentary showed the way the city mayor consulted the local residents and got their suggestions for improvement.  I could see the efficiency in which the situation was handled.
While I was watching this documentary, I noticed that most of these meetings with the residents had at most 5 – 6 people, and it was very orderly.   This efficient working style triggered many thoughts and came back to my computer to do some research on effective team structures.  
During this search, I stumbled upon this article “Inside the mind of Jeff Bezos”.   In this article they explain, Jeff’s idea of “2 Pizza teams”.  Whenever he encountered problems, he used to divide the problems into smaller chunks and each chunk was assigned to a team of not more than 2 Pizza team size.

So, what is 2 Pizza team size  ?
If you can't feed a team with two pizzas, it's too large. That limits a task force to five to seven people, depending on their appetites.

It seems even, Apple Inc follows similar concept !

Scrum recommends 7+/-2 as the optimal team size  but I guess, this number closely follows 2 Pizza team concept.  One of the major problems with larger teams is less accountability.   There are researches to prove that individual productivity reduces in larger teams due to this concept of social loafing.  As the number of people in the group increase, people tend to feel devalued.   One can get more details about the research here

So, How large is your team now ?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Very useful information, but I want to make a big emphasis on the Social Loafing concept you linked to.

This is great article (on Wikipedia) and explains a lot of team performance problems we already, empirically, know did not know the root cause.

Another good thing about knowing about Social Loafing is that you can stop blaming people for their lack of performance, when they are not conscious about their behavior.