To build great products, teams must be small
As mentioned in my previous article companies like Nike have shown a great example to world on how people can keep the teams small (3 people) and create products that can be a game changer. Keeping your team small, mainly made out of 2–3 decision makers, can be a great factor of success.
The more people involved in a process the less likely it is, in my experience, for the end result to be distinctive. “Committees” are not conductive to original work. As the comedian Allan Sherman said:
They sit there in committees day after day, and they each put in a colour and it comes out gray.
It’s, of course, challenging to build new products or features in a team of two to three, but that’s the beauty of constraints. There’s a widespread myth that to get a better picture you need a larger canvas. Yet every creative knows this to be untrue. Too much freedom can lead to mediocrity. Because without boundaries there’s no incentive to break through them.
A real creative person, in a tiny team with few resources, will have no difficulty redefining a brief or defying convention. But give too much freedom, too many people and resources to a problem, and you’ll get a final product that is over-designed, over-worked, over-budget and under-focused. The best thing you can do is throw less at a problem.
For example, if you can’t build a V1 of your product in a team of three people, this means that either the people are not right, or the product you are trying to create is too complicated.