Why Nine Women Can’t Make a Baby in One Month

In software engineering, when schedule slips, it can be tempting to redirect or add new resources to an important project. However, most of the time, boosting the number of resources in a project’s late stage has exactly the opposed effect: it takes more time. This principle is called Brooks’ law.

Adding more people in a project won’t necessarily make it happen faster. Software engineering is complex. First, it definitely takes some amount of time to the newcomer to understand and get used to the existing environment (existing code, development environment and most importantly, the team). Second, increasing resources also increase communication overhead. The information flow must go through all team members, in a clear and efficient way. Finally, you might also drain your existing resources’ energy and time by asking them to train and to coach the others.

For late software development projects, sometimes finding better ways to do more with less, simplifying processes and eliminating any nuisance to the team is better than giving more.

Picture by craitza


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