Three Thinking Gems for Software Development Projects

I have just started reading the book “Scaling Lean & Agile Development – Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum” from Craig Larman and Bas Vodde. You will read the complete review later on this blog, but as the book is full of interesting wisdom from the beginning, I couldn’t resist to share some of them with you that you could apply quickly in you next project planning meeting.

“After working for some years in the domains of large, multisite, and offshore development, we have distilled our experience and advice down to the following: Don’t’ do it.”

“We regularly coach groups that ask, “How can we calculate how many people we will need?” Our suggestion is, “Start with a small group of great people, and only grow when it really starts to hurt.” That rarely happens.”

The last is taken from The Fifth Discipline: “Dividing an elephant in half does not produce two small elephants”


“Scaling Lean & Agile Development – Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum”, Craig Larman & Bas Vodde, Addison -Wesley

“The Fifth Discipline”, Peter Senge, DoubleDay Business


  1. This is interesting. I am a relatively young developer/analyst and now that I have several post-university years of experience I recently thought I would revisit Brooks’ Mythical Man Month which we studied but I did not take too much notice of at the time! In the Surgical Team chapter I was surprised to see the suggestion that young managers want a small sharp team, but you can’t build a very large system this way. I thought maybe there is something I need to learn from this and I am naive, as my experiences so far has made me think that I would always favour a “small group of great people” for a project of any size. A project which needs to involve a huge team I would be very hesitant about managing or being part of as it would seem so unproductive and difficult to coordinate. Maybe there are projects where a large team is necessary?

  2. Yes, there are large projects and large teams. After the first quote, Larman and Vodde explain that large, multisite and offshore projects are going to happen. How to handle them is discussed in this book and a companion book focused on practices on scaling agile software development.

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