Video: Two Pizza Rule
The Right Size Team For Optimal Teamwork
One thing leaders don’t always consider in managing teamwork is what's the ideal size for a work team, a work group? Generally speaking, for the most productive teamwork, you want to follow what's known as the "two pizza" rule. The two pizza rule basically says you should never have a team or a work group that's bigger than what you can feed with two large pizzas.
If you're talking about the average person, we're really talking about somewhere between five to eight people for optimal teamwork. If you were making a work group of NFL offensive lineman or something, okay, you might need more than two large pizzas, but for the average company, basically two large pizzas is going to limit you to about five to eight people.
Why? Why is that a good rule? When you have a team, a work group, you're getting together to share ideas, brainstorm, collaborate, innovate, all of that teamwork stuff. You can't really have that kind of teamwork with really great interaction between people in the room, if you start to get much beyond eight, nine, ten people, because once you get beyond that, you have to deal with crowd control issues right down to who sits where. For best teamwork, you have to start to deal with logistical issues. Otherwise the group dynamics start to get wonky. People start to break up into little cliques and that does not work effectively for maintaining great group dynamics.
Now in case you say, "Well, Mark, we need more insight on the team than just five to eight people," totally fine. Here's one way to think about that. You can have your core team. That's your five to eight people. That's your two pizza rule right there. The core team is the people who are going to roll up the sleeves, dig in, do the real kind of heavy lifting, "making the sausage." These are the people that are going to come in every day and kind of gut through all the hard work, that’s one level of teamwork. But then you can have a resource of team members. Resource team members are the people who have special insights, special power, special influence that you need to come in and get their expertise from time to time. This is another level of teamwork.
You can’t have twenty, thirty people on the core team. Resource team members are those that you call in for a meeting here and there, but they're not the people who are going to be making the sausage with you every day, every week, however often your team meets. Think about your core team as being the two pizza rule group. This is the five to eight people to maintain the best group dynamics. The other people, your resource team members, they're people with expertise you need. Bring them in exactly when and where and how you need them, but you can have a lot of those. Keep your core team to the two pizza rule.