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Development Team Size
Last Post 22 Feb 2014 05:03 PM by Ian Mitchell. 6 Replies.
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Fariz Saracevic
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Fariz Saracevic

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21 Feb 2014 10:26 AM
    Scrum guide recommends that dev. team size should be between 3 and 9. I took that for granted since scrum guide says it and it stated that this is based on research. Now, I had someone interested in that research
    Could someone point me where I can find such research?

    Greatly appreciated.
    Fariz Saracevic
    Ian Mitchell
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    Ian Mitchell

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    22 Feb 2014 02:29 AM
    In 2003 Jeff Sutherland recommended constraining teams to less than 7 members:

    http://scrum.jeffsutherland.com/200...7.html?m=1

    This has crept upwards a bit, and the maximum is now variously quoted as being 7 (Scrum Primer) or 9 (Scrum Guide).

    Jeff cited the following research:

    Rubin, Howard (Ed.) A Metrics View of Software Engineering Performance Across Industries. IT Metrics Strategies V:9:3, September 1999.

    Fariz Saracevic
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    Fariz Saracevic

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    22 Feb 2014 05:55 AM
    Hi Ian,

    Thanks for pointing to the Jeff's recommendation. This helps from general perspective but I am still looking on what bases Scrum Guide says it is 3 to 9. Number has slightly increased and I am sure there are some data to support this.

    I guess, Scrum Guide authors should chime on this one and help community with some research data why they decided to increase team size.
    Don McGreal
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    Don McGreal

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    22 Feb 2014 09:32 AM
    The number hasn't increased as it used to be 7± 2. Now it is 6 ± 3. So the max is still 9, but the range was increased in the Scrum Guide as there are plenty of successful Scrum development teams with 3 or 4 members.
    The original 7 ± 2 came from a psychology paper called "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information" where it demonstrates that there are limits to how much information we can keep in our heads. In Scrum teams, as in other teams that work in complex environments (Marines, Navy Seals, Sports), keeping high bandwidth communication and relationships is essential. This becomes more difficult once we pass that magical number of '9'.

    More information about that paper here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ma..._Minus_Two

    Hope that helps!

    Don
    Olivier Ledru
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    Olivier Ledru

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    22 Feb 2014 10:32 AM
    In "Succeding with Agile", Mike Cohn wrote a full chapter (10) about team structure. He quotes some research inside his writing.
    He push the idea of "2 pizzas teams" and numerous reason why big teams are not efficient.
    I found it very interesting !

    http://www.mikecohnsignatureseries....with-agile

    Hope it helps


    Fariz Saracevic
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    Fariz Saracevic

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    22 Feb 2014 04:07 PM
    This gives me enough research data points how Scrum Guide came with the dev. team size.

    Thank you all for your input.
    Ian Mitchell
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    Ian Mitchell

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    22 Feb 2014 05:03 PM
    Incidentally the two pizza team rule originated with Jeff Bezos on the principle that "communication is terrible". The next time you hear someone say "we need to communicate more in this organization", it's worth bearing this in mind. Such statements should not be considered equivalent to an appeal for "individuals and interactions". Chances are it's the dependencies between teams that are the problem, not insufficiently complex lines of communication.
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