Jarkko’s Website
My bite-sized writings about software.

Small teams

A team is a stable group of people that works toward a shared goal as a unit. Teams outperform individuals.

A team is small, around five people. At least not much larger than nine or so—around that point, trust begins to break down.

Trust is key. Team members need to be able to trust each other in order to operate effectively.

Teams should be long-lived—this allows trust to build. Trust should be maximized. A smaller team size fosters trust.

A team should not be disbanded when it has just began performing well. Instead, keep the team stable and find new work for it—flow the work to the team.

A stable team does not mean the team must be static. Sometimes a team grows or shrinks. But, it’s better if it doesn’t happen too often. Once per year is okay if trust is high. If trust is low, once per two years might be acceptable. In low-trust environments, team coaching is needed to sustain and improve cohesion.

This is my somewhat limited understanding of the effects of team size, based on the sources listed below.