An Ideal Number of "Idea People", Please

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If your project has more “idea people” than builders, you’re likely having a rough time of things.

Think about it. A good idea almost certainly takes less time that its implementaton. If your project has more people thinking up features than implementing them, the implementors will never catch up.

Frustration prevails. The stage is set for disappointment. You’re always behind.

So what’s a good ratio of “doers” to “thinkers”? I submit it’s ten to one. It sounds drastic, but building software is complex stuff. If you pick one really good person to design feautres, and have ten working to implement them, you have a good chance at success.

The ten to one ratio also sounds horribly inefficient, but what’s the success rate of new ideas when you’re spouting out all kinds of new features? Does more than one in ten of your features really ever pan(pay) out?

Construction projects are a nice example. The ratio of builders to architects on a typical high rise is like 50 to 1.

We wouldn’t dream of having 50 or 75 architects for a building, so why are we ok with the same percentage for software?

[photo courtesy of joherob - some rights reserved]

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