Questioners and Contributors

I just figured out there is a simple metric that clearly shows why your project might not be moving as fast as it should.

Let M be the number of people in your team who don’t contribute much but just ask questions or give empty instructions. These people ask questions or give instructions like the following:

  • What is the status of this feature/bug?
  • Hey, our QA is blocked on this environment issue. Could you help us fix this?
  • Is our security review done?
  • Is our accessibility review done?
  • Why do you think this task will take so much time? I believe it could be done in half the time.
  • Please review Mr. X’s code.
  • Please update your time sheets.
  • I want you to come over weekend and finish the stuff.

Let N be the number of people who actually contribute. These people know that developing software takes time. They know the uncertainties involved in the development work. They focus on one thing at a time. Some of them need guidance. Some of them provide guidance.

The ratio M:N is extremely important. Teams that have ratios like 1:2, 1:3, 1:4 etc. will move faster than those with 1:1, 3:2 etc.

Instead of hiring/promoting more of M get those people who fix bugs instead of asking status, fix system issues, make your product secure and accessible, people who review code and not just instruct others to do so, people who strive to ensure that their team doesn’t need to work over weekends.

You need only one effective person i.e. M=1.



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