Software projects work better with small teams. On the other hand, it makes sense to have multiple teams of workers if you're paving a patch of highly trafficked highway. Three reasons: Coordination Learning Ramp up time As we learned from...

Big crew/little crew

Software projects work better with small teams.

On the other hand, it makes sense to have multiple teams of workers if you're paving a patch of highly trafficked highway.

Three reasons:

Coordination

Learning

Ramp up time

As we learned from the Mythical Man Month more than fifty years ago, software projects rely on coordination of work. As you add programmers, the work doesn't go faster, it gets slower. Ramp up time is expensive. And if the project involves learning as you go, then big teams waste far more time at the beginning while you're figuring things out.

On the other hand, it doesn't make any sense at all to have a single crew working on a paving project. If you need to close the road for two weeks as they work from one end to the other, you've cost the users of the road a fortune. Ramp up time for trained professionals is trivial, and there's no learning and not much coordination. Better to have five crews working on different sections and open the road after just one or two days.

Often, we default to a small crew because we don't believe we can afford a bigger one. But if the work is worth doing, it might be worth doing more quickly. It's easier than ever to find ways to scale project labor now.

And sometimes, we mistakenly choose to use a big crew, thinking that nine women, working very carefully in coordination, can have a baby in one month. Wishful thinking that ends up in disappointment.

If you want to see how a project got into trouble, look for how crew size was decided.

       

Before and after

When you put the right idea into the world, people can't unsee it.

It changes our narrative. The existence of your product, service or innovation means that everything that compares to it is now treated differently.

Once the fax existed, mail seemed slower. Once email was around, the fax seemed hopelessly analog.

Of course, these are once-in-a-lifetime tech innovations.

But at a smaller scale, the same thing happens when the first restaurant installs a salad bar, or the local insurance agent or real estate broker gets rid of voice mail and starts answering the phone on the first ring.

Once seen, they can't be unseen.

       

Unrequested advice, insufficient data, unexplored objectives

Your ideas and your feedback are worth more than you know.

But you might not be heard if you haven't been invited to chime in.

And you'll waste everyone's time if you base your advice on your assumptions, instead of what's actually happening.

Mostly, it's entirely possible that the person you're eager to help doesn't believe what you believe and doesn't want what you want.

Enrollment is the secret to education and change.

       

Accessorials cost extra

{not a typo}

In the trucking industry, they usually don't include the extra charges, unforeseen or not.

"Accessorials" not included. Which often leads to surprise down the road for those that don't expect them.

Tonu is another useful lesson. "Truck ordered, not used." Of course, when you ordered the truck, you expected to need it, and the fact that you don't isn't a bad thing. Sure, you have to pay for it, but it was a sunk cost, not an obligation.

All a clever way of pointing out that we often pay for options, for flexibility and the ability to do the appropriate thing at the right time. Even if you're not in the trucking business. 

       

Mass personalization is a trap

Dear seth ,

Of course I could have sent you a personal letter. A direct 1:1 connection between you and me, thanking you for what you did, or letting you know about my new project, or asking for your attention.

Instead, I'm going to hire someone to hand write the envelope in marker, but of course, I'm too busy to do that myself.

And I'll use the latest in digital handwriting fonts to make you think I actually wrote the note. But I'm not careful or caring enough to actually put good data into the mailmerge, so it'll only take you a second to realize that I faked it.

I know that I'm asking you to spend hours on the favor I'm asking, but no, I couldn't be bothered to spend three minutes to ask you.

There's an uncanny valley here, that uncomfortable feeling we get when we know we're being played, when someone mass customizes and tries to steal the value of actual person-to-person connection.

It's a trap because the more you do it, the more you need to do it. Once you start burning trust, the only way to keep up is to burn more trust... it's a bit like throwing the walls of your house in the fireplace to stay warm.

Don't waste your time and money on this. You're wasting the most valuable thing you own--trust.

Humanity is too valuable to try to steal with a laser printer.

       

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