To be productive, a team must be small (part 1)

Less is more? Yes, at least when it comes to team size.

It is easy to see how, in a company devoted to productivity and process efficiency, the more agile the teams, the faster and smoother the management and decision-making flows.

In an era marked by low-cost and volatility, in which increasing market shares or increasing the mark-up seems to be a utopia, the only way to grow is to streamline activities and reduce waste, so as to obtain a result in a short time. An innovation project, for example, must be conceived and developed expeditiously, to capture an immediate market need. The idea for a new product, then, requires significant economic efforts in research and development, which are nullified if the construction site gets stuck in the marshy lands of the “ok to proceed”.

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Streamlining processes, therefore, is a crucial but complex mission for all companies, especially for large companies: the so-called caravans, made up of very large working groups, connected to each other and linked by rigid hierarchical logic, certainly do not favor business speed.

Within these numerous and stratified teams, projects go up, like salmon, the current of approvals, jeopardizing their survival: on each bank, a predator is ready to reject the idea or, simply, the stream is too tortuous to go and the project comes to a halt, giving up getting to the mouth.

A completely different story when it comes to small teams: leaders and employees are constantly in close contact and communication exchange, as well as decision-making processes, is faster and more agile. With the result that even a complex project can see the light faster, with less time – and therefore money – wasted.

It seems a contradiction, therefore, but a leader who wants to aim for growth must hope to be able to lead a small team, few in number and essential in the roles and professional figures. How small? As small as “two pizzas” , as the Amazon number one Jeff Bezos would say: translated, a team that cannot be fed by two pizzas, according to the US CEO, is already too numerous to be considered productive. Possible? World entrepreneurial history says yes: the Volkswagen Golf GTI, for example, is the result of the work of a team of 8 people, while WhatsApp – which today serves almost 500 million users – was created from just over 30 professionals.

Goodbye Big Companies and large multinational organizations?

No: just replicate, even in large companies, the dynamics that characterize small groups, repeating their best practices.

Hang up presentations

They are long, often inspiring and always full of information. The traditional presentations are a tool to enclose, in a digital document, all the details of a project. But how long does it take to be conceived, built, modified and perfected graphically? And what added value can they really bring?

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Know that the balance between effort and performance is clearly against efficiency: a presentation is a time-consuming cliché. And smaller companies do without it, bringing the interlocutors around a table and discussing the project directly with a live presentation, built-in pen on a sheet in real-time .

To carry this concept into the 21st century, know that you can rely on digital whiteboards and coworking tools and content sharing platforms – like Slack or Symphony – perfect for bringing teams together and fostering exchange. What will you get from this switch in information sharing processes? More speed and flexibility, and less waste of time and resources.

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