Brook’s law: revisited

Ha. I went and read the Mythical Man Month again. Found the spot where he speaks about the effect of adding more people. Then I went and read comments from you guys and thought.

The result is that, indeed, if I dial the effects really high, the project indeed moves slower than it was before. For a while. The critical effects I found were:

  • Productivity drop. The rest of the team needs to effectively to focus on teaching the newcomers
  • Hiring speed. The speed at which the new people come on board has an interestingly strong effect. When the new people get added gradually, the resulting impact is way smaller
  • Error rate. The rookies need to make a ton of mistakes for the result to show

Actually, this is pretty much exactly what Brook says. And actually my model behaves exactly like Brooke says, too. You see, he talks about a late project. A project that is either close to or having already passed a deadline. And if you add so late in the project that it ends before they learn the ropes and the productivity gains show, he is right. In the long run, though, adding more people will work out.

What a relief! Both me and mr. Brook were right! Not that the latter would come as a surprise, though.

Oh, and I have already some tasty numbers for this weeks episode, so stay tuned and observe SD in action!

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