Small Teams Do Better
With communication as difficult as it is, keeping your development team as small as possible yields much better outcomes for a lot of reasons. I wanted to put together a few thoughts about what the benefits are and why I think they materialize.
Scalability and Flexibility
Smaller teams offer more flexibility in project management, ensuring continuity and flow in the project without much disruption when changes occur. This is because the members are more acquainted with the full context of the project, reducing the need to spend time on bringing others up to speed when changes or additional resources are needed. If you imagine lines between each person in a team, you can understand the exponential growth in communication channels and the amount of syncing that has to be done as the team grows. Reducing connecting lines always helps.
Team Satisfaction and Growth
Working in a small team increasing the amount of impact each person has which leads to better outcomes in terms of satisfaction and personal (and team) pride. It also makes it a lot easier to learn as you can spend less time communicating about status, and more time collaborating on better solutions. In general, this environment increases camaraderie and motivation which leads to higher productivity and improved performance over time.
Small teams allow for efficient progress because knowledge is less distributed and requires less need for communication before making changes. While there is a downside if the footprint a single person is responsible for grows too large, you simply have to make some smart decisions early on to determine the scope each person should have (leaning more heavily toward fewer people).
Innovation and Synergy
A reduced need for over-communication means more time for learning. In other words, the communication that does happen is focused entirely on productivity and innovation. Signal to noise ratio favors signal.