Few days ago I was talking with a friend of mine about different approaches in software development. One of the thoughts that we discussed for quite a while was about the teams who develop your software. It actually became a really lively discussion about big teams vs small teams in agile environment.
One of the main arguments he brought was that large teams can be more effective because there’s just more manpower to handle the tasks at hand. Especially when you need something done in a tight schedule. That’s one part that I just couldn’t agree with. Throwing more people to a project that’s already on tight deadline will just lead to bigger mess in the project.
All that led me to thinking – why exactly are small teams better? More importantly, how do clients benefit from it? I’ve been on both sides of the road – as a lead for a small team as well as client – so I can only speak from my perspective and experience.
Small teams are easier to manage
I believe that the optimal size for a good agile team is around four to six people. Some argue that it’s between four and twelve. While I’m sure that there are studies about that – let every team lead choose the size of their team. Either way this means less egos to work with.
For me the important factor in here is that in small team everyone needs to have several good skills. You don’t have just project managers, developers, designers etc. You have a CEO, team lead, project manager, front end developer, search engine marketer etc – all in one person. When looking at the whole Ruby on Rails community this kind of seems like a de facto standard these days. For a client this just means cheaper development – smaller overhead from the development team will help you to cut your costs.
Better communication all the way
As a client, you most probably experience better communication from a small team. You get your feedback directly from the people who create your application or website. What could be better than getting a reply to your email in 15 minutes or better yet, get your problem or question solved instantly via Skype group chat. Yes, Skype is something that has helped us with communicating with our clients more efficiently.
All in all I truly believe that hiring a small team will lead you to better managed development for your project. All this comes with one bonus perk – thanks to the efficiency in communication and management (actually a lack of people management) you’ll end up with smaller costs for software development. For many, that’s a good reason by itself.
If you like what you just read and think that we could help you out with our small development team – let me know and I’ll get back to you soon.