26 March 2010

The Monkeysphere

There's a great sociology article over at the prestigious American journal Cracked.com, ("America's only humor and video site, since 1958") which sheds some light on the importance and value of small teams. This is an important element of the FIST (Fast, Inexpensive, Simple, Tiny) approach to systems development, and I highly recommend reading the article to help understand why it's so important to keep teams small. Plus, it's hilarious.

The author, David Wong, posits that the human brain has a limited capacity for maintaining social connections. He refers to this group size as "the Monkeysphere," based on research on monkesy, and explains:

"The Monkeysphere is the group of people who each of us, using our monkeyish brains, are able to conceptualize as people. If the monkey scientists are monkey right, it's physically impossible for this to be a number much larger than 150."

The implications for large program teams are significant, in terms of the increase in conflict, friction and inefficiency. Plus, like I said, the article is full of references to monkeys, and monkeys always make me laugh.

No comments: