To your left is a real-time pole eliciting responses from 4,243 people on LinkedIn last week! The prompt: Do you believe in Jeff Bezos’ “two-pizza” rule for meetings? (Defined: If two pizza’s can’t feed the whole group, it’s too big).
78% agreed and said, “yes, smaller [teams/meetings] is better”.
Where are you on this?
Here’s the research:
- The issue with quickly growing teams isn’t quite the team size itself. As organizational psychologist and expert on team dynamics J. Richard Hackman pointed out, it’s the number of links between people that begins to pose the problem. Look at the formula for determining the number of links between members in a group: n(n-1)/2. As group size increases, the links start to get unwieldy.
As group size increases, you know what else increases? The cost of coordinating, communicating, and relating with each other snowballs to such a degree that it lowers individual and team productivity. I think this something easily represented in the HBR “Simulation” LearnIT Assignment.
Additionally, the larger a group, the more process problems members encounter in carrying out their collective. Worse, the vulnerability of a group to such difficulties increases sharply as size increases.
Hackman suggests: “You want to be sure that your team is able to remain decentralized and move fast. Breaking into smaller pods as companies scale encourages greater autonomy and creativity.”