The ‘Two-Pizza’ Rule for Teams

Per the research of the late J. Richard Hackman:

The ideal size for most working teams: 4-6 people. No work team should have more than 10 members. Team performance problems exponentially increase as team size increases.

Per Bob Sutton:

Size begets complexity. Complexity begets greater ‘cognitive load.’ As teams grow in number:

  • maintaining relationships becomes more difficult
  • members spend more time in coordination chores and less time doing the work
  • members must divide their attention among more colleagues

Per Sutton, Intuit’s best practice around development teams is to have no more than the number of people who can be fed by two pizzas. In addition to providing a memorable tip for team effectiveness, Intuit simultaneously confirms why teams in the Midwest tend to consist of fewer members than teams on the east coast.

Source: Bob Sutton, ‘Why Big Teams Suck.’

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