I remember reading a story, when I was first managing people, about Bill Gates and his approach to resources at Microsoft. According to the story, he regularly rejected requests to add resources to the development teams.
When I first heard it, I was managing a team of three software developers. I thought his rejection was a bit foolish and could see all sorts of reasons why teams needed to grow. I was also twenty five.
I wondered if the real reason he rejected staff increases was that he only wanted the smartest people at Microsoft. This was in their Windows NT 4.0 days (1996) and they were hiring really smart folks (even though my Bay Area anti-Microsoft friends wouldn't admit it).
I'm sure that was part of it. But now I know better.
More resources makes things harder
In 2009 Boeing began an effort to create the Dreamliner in a whole new way. Instead of building it from the ground up, the team would focus on assembly (with more than 1500 folks), and they'd have external contractors build full assemblies. Tons of companies building parts separately.
Guess what happened?
You already know. The subcontracted assemblies didn't arrive on time. The assembly took longer than expected and the initial plane ended up being overweight.
More resources don't always make things easier or better. In fact, it can often make things harder.
A great read on speeding up software development
I'll wrap up by pointing you to a great article on speeding up software development projects with these 8 strategies.
I read it a few years ago and regularly send people there. Hope you enjoy it.
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