Friday, February 05, 2016

The Virtue of Small Groups

An easy question: All things being equal in terms of the mix of talent, which group is likely to be more successful: one that has five members or one that has fifteen?

The smaller group is likely to do better because:
  1. Fewer people, fewer ego problems.
  2. Each member knows that he or she matters. They are less inclined to dodge meetings or not do their homework. They can't hide in the bushes. They play a prominent role.
  3. Because attendance is better, there are fewer people who have to catch up.
  4. It's much easier to set up meetings since there are fewer schedules to juggle..
  5. Decision making is easier since there are fewer factions.
  6. Communication in general is less complicated. [As an exercise, write down all of the possible relationships in a 15 person group. It's shocking.]
Larger committees are sometimes unavoidable but even in those circumstances see if an ad hoc committee is possible. That smaller group can report to the larger one and avoid the obstacles of size.

Amazon reportedly has a two pizza rule: Don't have any committee that cannot be fed with two pizzas.
Less can be more.

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