Adding Manpower to a Late Project Makes It Later – Effectiviology - Deepstash

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Adding Manpower to a Late Project Makes It Later – Effectiviology

Adding Manpower to a Late Project Makes It Later – Effectiviology


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Brooks’ law

Brooks’ law is the observation that “adding manpower to a late software project makes it later”.

Applied wider, this principle shows that adding more resources, especially people, to various types of projects is often unhelpful and counterproductive.

A classic example of Brooks’ law is a software project behind schedule. This leads management to allocate more developers to it, which causes further delays because it takes time to train the new developers.

Another example is a project that could be handled quickly by a small team but is d...

Humorous statements associated with Brooks’ law

  • “Nine women can’t make a baby in one month”
  • “You get water by digging one well a hundred feet deep, not a hundred wells one foot deep”
  • “What one programmer can do in one month, two programmers can do in two months”.

Brooks' law can be expanded in three ways to generalize it and consider it in other contexts.

  • Brooks's law can be applied to other endeavours such as different types of business, academic, and hobby projects.
  • Brook's law can be applied to negative outco...

Rationale behind Brooks’ law

  • Adding more people to a project doesn't mean it will be completed faster.
  • People who are already working on the project must spend time training newcomers.
  • It takes time for new people to join the project to become productive.
  • Time is spent on communication rather tha...

Whether or not Brooks' law applies in a situation depends on various factors, such as:

  • The attributes of the people working on the project - their ability and willingness to teach others.
  • The attributes of the people who are being added to the project - their ability and willin...

  • To account for Brooks's law, you should avoid assuming that adding more resources to a project will help.
  • Assess whether you should add resources, how many and in what way.
  • Consider how adding more resources can help

Adding unnecessary resources

If someone else in your organization insists on adding more resources, consider doing the following:

  • Ask them to explain their reasoning, and explain the flaws in it.
  • Explain to them why it’s a bad idea, potentially while mentioning Brooks’ law.
  • Help them find an altern...

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