Two-pizza rules, diversity for efficiency, communication, the human dimension of project management.

I would like more quantified and peer-reviewed content here, but I will take what I can get.

Coda Hale, Work is work:

Keep the work parallel, the groups small, and the resources local.

When presented with a set of problems which grow superlinearly intractable as \(N\) increases, our best bet is to keep \(N\) small. If the organization’s intent is to increase value delivery by hiring more people, work efforts must be as independent as possible. …

mhoye writes on software companies and the lessons they offer for management feedback, including a link to Dorian Taylor’s Agile as Trauma

The Agile Manifesto is an immune response on the part of programmers to bad management. The document is an expression of trauma, and its intellectual descendants continue to carry this baggage. While the Agile era has brought about remarkable advancements in project management techniques and development tools, it remains a tactical, technical, and ultimately reactionary movement. As long as Agile remains in this position it will be liable to backfire, vulnerable to the very depredations of bad management it had initially evolved to counter.

Denise Yu, Habits of high-functioning teams:

Generous communication between peers means that at all times, we assume that anyone asking a question:

  • Has done the basic research, e.g. they’ve googled the thing already
  • Is asking a human, because they’ve been unable to find their answer in any written-down place. Because that written-down place is difficult to find, or it doesn’t exist yet.

In other words: assume your peer is a competent, intelligent, reasonable person who is asking a question because they’re lacking context, that they’ve already attempted to procure on their own.

There is some famous Google research here (not peer-reviewed, mind).

Google: Foster psychological safety

Of the five key dynamics of effective teams that the researchers identified, psychological safety was by far the most important. The Google researchers found that individuals on teams with higher psychological safety are less likely to leave Google, they’re more likely to harness the power of diverse ideas from their teammates, they bring in more revenue, and they’re rated as effective twice as often by executives.


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Chater, Nick. n.d. “Would You Stand up to an Oppressive Regime or Would You Conform? Here’s the Science.” The Conversation. Accessed March 9, 2020.
Couzin, Iain D., Christos C. Ioannou, Güven Demirel, Thilo Gross, Colin J. Torney, Andrew Hartnett, Larissa Conradt, Simon A. Levin, and Naomi E. Leonard. 2011. “Uninformed Individuals Promote Democratic Consensus in Animal Groups.” Science 334 (6062): 1578–80.
Duhigg, Charles. 2016. “What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team.” The New York Times, February 25, 2016, sec. Magazine.
Dunbar, Robin I M. 1993. “Coevolution of Neocortex Size, Group Size and Language in Humans.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (4): 681–94.
Klug, Michael, and James P. Bagrow. 2016. “Understanding the Group Dynamics and Success of Teams.” Royal Society Open Science 3 (4).
Mohdin, Aamna. 2016. “After Years of Intensive Analysis, Google Discovers the Key to Good Teamwork Is Being Nice.” Quartz (blog). February 26, 2016.
Murphy, Mary C., Amanda F. Mejia, Jorge Mejia, Xiaoran Yan, Sapna Cheryan, Nilanjana Dasgupta, Mesmin Destin, et al. 2020. “Open Science, Communal Culture, and Women’s Participation in the Movement to Improve Science.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September.
Sornette, Didier, Thomas Maillart, and Giacomo Ghezzi. 2014. “How Much Is the Whole Really More Than the Sum of Its Parts? 1 ⊞ 1 = 2.5: Superlinear Productivity in Collective Group Actions.” PLoS ONE 9 (8): e103023.
Trouche, Emmanuel, Emmanuel Sander, and Hugo Mercier. 2014. “Arguments, More Than Confidence, Explain the Good Performance of Reasoning Groups.” SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 2431710. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network.
Wu, Lingfei, Dashun Wang, and James A. Evans. 2019. “Large Teams Develop and Small Teams Disrupt Science and Technology.” Nature 566 (7744): 378–82.

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