4 simple rules for team design

Jason Yip
Mar 25, 2023

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I’ve been wondering about simple rules for team design inspired by

’s rules for simple design. This is partly triggered by noticing people incorrectly using team size as their primary (or even sole) design criteria.

In order of priority, a well-designed team:

  1. Has a clear mission. Everyone knows what they’re trying to accomplish, what’s in scope and what isn’t, why the team exists. This reduces confusion and guides decision-making.
  2. Has all the capabilities and tools needed to fulfil the mission. This allows the team to accomplish their mission autonomously.
  3. Has clear ways of working both amongst themselves and others outside the team. This reduces negotiation overhead every time there is an interaction.
  4. Has the fewest members. This reduces communication and coordination overhead.

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Jason Yip

Senior Manager Product Engineering at Grainger. Extreme Programming, Agile, Lean guy. Ex-Spotify, ex-ThoughtWorks, ex-CruiseControl