You can’t hire nine women to create a baby in one month…
Sage words of wisdom which also applies in the world of software systems development: Some projects simply cannot be delivered more quickly by throwing extra people at them.
As Fred Brooks, the celebrated author of “The Mythical Man Month” wrote:
“Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.“
The fact is, using traditional methods of running a software development invariably causes it to ultimately run late. And the conventional reaction is to allocate extra people, thus compounding the problem.
If we want to deliver a quality product in a shorter timescale, we can’t use the ‘nine women’ approach – it will probably backfire.
To deliver that product earlier without sacrificing quality requires a change in the way that we work. We have to try to find a ‘smarter’ way that allows us to achieve more with fewer people. And, as we all know, a smaller team means a lower communication overhead and greater synergy.
One way to accomplish this is to use powerful techniques such as requirements prototyping. This helps ensure that designs meet the needs of users and the expectations of stakeholders, avoiding the inevitable re-working that results when the design doesn’t quite work.
Ultimately, however, it’s all about working together in an optimal way – and that’s a subject we shall cover off in more depth another time…