The two pizza rule states that the number of people working together should not exceed the number of people that can be fed by two pizzas. The rule was popularized by Jeff Bezos at Amazon who believes two pizza teams create a decentralized and innovative workplace.
The idea behind two pizza teams is that the fewer the people working together, the more effective the communication becomes. The number of communication links in a two person team is 1, a five person team 10, a ten person team 45, and a 20 person team has a whopping 190 communication links. The U.S. Navy Seals have learned that four is the optimal size for a combat team. Larger teams need more communication whereas smaller teams can have better communication.
When assembling a high-function team, a leader may be tempted to include team members from several areas just to make sure everyone is represented. That rarely works – look no further than our government to see what happens with large teams. Ideally, leaders should choose at most six or seven non-ravenous people if they want a highly functional team.
Empowered team leaders build teams using the two pizza rule and have more successful teams.
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