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

Learn more about leadershipandmanagement with this collection

How to set achievable goals

How to create and stick to a schedule

How to break down large projects into smaller manageable tasks

Productivity Systems

Discover 46 similar ideas in

It takes just

13 mins to read

Brooks’ law

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.


165 reads

Examples of Brooks’ law

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 delayed because too many people are added unnecessarily so that communication and decision-making slow down.


92 reads

Humorous statements associated with Brooks’ law

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”.


105 reads

Generalizing Brooks’ law

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 outcomes other than delays. E.g., adding people to a software project might lead to a worse product or increased conflicts between team members.
  • Brook's law can be applied to resources other than manpower. For example, adding money to a certain project might not lead to it finishing faster because spending more money doesn't address the real problem.


70 reads

Rationale behind Brooks’ law

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 than work, which can quickly rise as people are added to a project. The larger a group is, the more agreement and organization it will need.
  • Certain tasks cannot be divided into partitions that separate people can handle.


59 reads

Caveat about Brooks’ law

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 willingness to learn new material.
  • The number of new people added to the project.
  • The overall team size.
  • The group's social dynamic.
  • How group members are expected to communicate.
  • The hierarchy and decision-making process.
  • The type of tasks involved in the project
  • Why additional manpower is added.


49 reads

How to account for Brooks’ law

  • 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 the project or harm the project.
  • Consider how effective adding the resources will be in leading to the desired outcomes.
  • Consider how efficient adding resources will be in terms of avoiding wasted resources.
  • In some instances, changing the project's scope or moving its deadline is preferable.


53 reads

Adding unnecessary resources

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 alternative solution.
  • Convince them to add fewer resources.

A humorous solution is the Bermuda plan, which involves putting 90% of a company’s programmers on a boat and sending them to Bermuda so that the remaining 10% can finish the work.


45 reads



Social media evangelist. Coffee maven.

Ready for the next level?

Read Like a Pro


Explore the World’s

Best Ideas

200,000+ ideas on pretty much any topic. Created by the smartest people around & well-organized so you can explore at will.

An Idea for Everything

Explore the biggest library of insights. And we've infused it with powerful filtering tools so you can easily find what you need.

Knowledge Library

Powerful Saving & Organizational Tools

Save ideas for later reading, for personalized stashes, or for remembering it later.

# Personal Growth

Take Your Ideas


Organize your ideas & listen on the go. And with Pro, there are no limits.

Listen on the go

Just press play and we take care of the words.

Never worry about spotty connections

No Internet access? No problem. Within the mobile app, all your ideas are available, even when offline.

Get Organized with Stashes

Ideas for your next work project? Quotes that inspire you? Put them in the right place so you never lose them.


2 Million Stashers


5,740 Reviews

App Store


72,690 Reviews

Google Play

Shankul Varada

Best app ever! You heard it right. This app has helped me get back on my quest to get things done while equipping myself with knowledge everyday.

Sean Green

Great interesting short snippets of informative articles. Highly recommended to anyone who loves information and lacks patience.


Don’t look further if you love learning new things. A refreshing concept that provides quick ideas for busy thought leaders.

Ashley Anthony

This app is LOADED with RELEVANT, HELPFUL, AND EDUCATIONAL material. It is creatively intellectual, yet minimal enough to not overstimulate and create a learning block. I am exceptionally impressed with this app!

Laetitia Berton

I have only been using it for a few days now, but I have found answers to questions I had never consciously formulated, or to problems I face everyday at work or at home. I wish I had found this earlier, highly recommended!

Giovanna Scalzone

Brilliant. It feels fresh and encouraging. So many interesting pieces of information that are just enough to absorb and apply. So happy I found this.

Ghazala Begum

Even five minutes a day will improve your thinking. I've come across new ideas and learnt to improve existing ways to become more motivated, confident and happier.

Jamyson Haug

Great for quick bits of information and interesting ideas around whatever topics you are interested in. Visually, it looks great as well.

Read & Learn

20x Faster





Access to 200,000+ ideas

Access to the mobile app

Unlimited idea saving & library

Unlimited history

Unlimited listening to ideas

Downloading & offline access

Personalized recommendations


Claim Your Limited Offer

Get Deepstash Pro

Supercharge your mind with one idea per day

Enter your email and spend 1 minute every day to learn something new.


I agree to receive email updates