The Influence of Poor Planning on Software Team Man-Power and Productivity

by C.Gencel and L.Buglione

In physics, potential energy corresponds to the ‘capacity of doing work’.  In software engineering, the potential energy of a development team corresponds to the team’s cumulative, intellectual work capacity. Hence, the efficiency (i.e. productivity) of software development is the ratio of: the amount of ‘output work’ produced to the team’s cumulative intellectual energy input to do this work.  So, any waste in development decreases productivity.

The focus of this presentation is on the input effort delivered by the team to do work, rather than the work output and factors affecting productivity.  We will first revisit and clarify some fundamental concepts of Team Size and Team Power. We will then investigate (empirically) the nature of the relationship between Average Team Power and Average Team Size. These two factors are normally expected to move together.

The results indicate that, for a large number of projects, the Average Team Man-Power increases up to a point and remains at this figure. This is despite the fact that the reported Average Team Size increases further. These preliminary findings suggest poor planning and hence inefficient utilization of people in projects that might have resulted in longer durations or higher costs.

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