Yes. Size DOES Matter.

Contrary to popular belief Bigger is NOT better.  Big organizations want BIG stuff.  Whether it be projects, programs, releases, teams, scope, architecture…you name it, they want it BIG!  Even Org charts.  The more levels and boxes, the better.  But, when it comes time to getting things done the people you need to execute now have to jump through BIG hoops to make it happen.  And, after all of that BIG effort, the end result ends up being not so big.  Despite this notion of bigger not being better being proven time and time again, it’s still a challenge for people believe it.  I’ve blogged about this before and I offer my apologies for being repetitive.  Events have put this top of mind – again – and I just couldn’t control the urge.  Big <insert item here> leads to BIG problems.

Team Size – More people means more potential communication gaps, lack of alignment – to the commitment, the work and the vision, inability to unify into a single entity and difficulty collaborating.

Scope Size – Everything and the kitchen sink means greater risk.  Risk to what you ask?  Risk that what finally gets put into production is no longer relevant.  You put too much out there, something doesn’t work and you have no idea what that something is.  The problem you initially set out to address is diluted and gets lost in the shinier things people have managed to shove in.  There’s so much you have to move quickly and quality and deliberate decision making goes out the window.

Story Size – Well, the hood’s open so we may as well….. Wait.  What was this story delivering again?  There’s no way we can complete that in a sprint.  Now, what you thought was a quick fix ends up taking a quarter.

Process Size – Rather than addressing the root cause, we have a process to make sure that – what was it we were trying to prevent again?  Big Process is indicative of an inefficient organization/system.

Decision Size – You can’t empower anyone to decide to decide anything b/c the potential impact is (also) TOO BIG.  This means everything takes way too long.  The date you’re shooting for?  Add 6 or so months to it.

WIP Size – There’s so much in progress that focus is lost.  Congratulations, you now have 20 things in progress and completion of any one of them is no where on the horizon.  Makes for some BIG reporting though.  WOOT!

Want to scale?  All of the above applies times a gazillion.  Size matters.  If you’re seeing problems with being able to deliver quality software frequently and efficiently, dig into the size of everything.  Be warned.  You could find yourself standing in a very BIG hole.



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