Small teams + tighter communications = better productivity

For over twenty years I had a love affair with APL, the world’s most productive computer programming language. APL is elegant, concise, and powerful. When embedded in the most responsive IBM mainframe timesharing system of the era, it enabled our company to literally do magic.

Using our APL*Plus System, we could walk into a prospect’s office and blow them away. The prospect would say “you’re the third salesman to tell me how you could solve our problems, how are you different?” “Well,” we would say as we plugged in our “portable” 50-pound terminal and slide the telephone handset into an acoustic coupler. “We’re going to write a program to solve your problem right in front of you.”

And we did!

We estimated that we were ten times more productive than the alternative technology. That enabled one person to to do the work the competition would require a team to do. We could reduce the communications required to coordinate implementation from many to just two – the client and the implementer.

Consider the challenge of keeping a large team coordinated. With two people there is only one communications link. With three people there are three links to maintain. With four people on the team there are six links. With five team members there are ten links. With five team members there are fifteen links.

The smaller the implementation team, the lower the overhead required for communications. But to make sure the end result is successful, you need to make sure all the stakeholder’s expectations for quality, quantity, timeliness, and cost are clearly understood.

The optimal approach for achieving this is to use well-run meetings to clarify and agree on the expected results. Then match each implementation action step with the best available person. Imagine the productivity when there is a single, personally accountable owner for each task, using the best tools to complete their task, and working with a full understanding of every stakeholder’s expectations. An End to Meeting Madness documents our decades of experience in facilitating high-stakes meetings. If you’re interested in having productive meetings that help set your strategy and keep your projects productive and on track, give us a call.

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