Why Two is a Great Team Size

A team of two hits the sweet spot in productivity and skills.

An AI-generated painting of two Buddhist monk playing a board game.
Two monks playing a board game. Image generated with AI by DALL-E.

Working on a new web development project as a team of two, I’m struck by how productive it is.

No time is wasted in meetings. When we do meet, we actually work. Divvying up tasks takes minutes. There is nothing but productivity.

When I started E-accent in 2005, we were also a team of two. We completed our first project in mere weeks, and that included familiarizing ourselves with the Ruby on Rails framework.

There is something special about teams of two. They hit the sweet spot in terms of productivity and skills. They are more effective than teams of one or three.

In a team of one, there is no one to balance you out. If you take a wrong turn, no one corrects you. If you waste time on distractions, no one holds you accountable.

Teams of three have more skills, but need more coordination. In a team of two, there is just one relationship. In a team of three, there are three — three times as many! Whereas in a team of two you just grab the phone to discuss something, in a team of three, communication needs to be scheduled.

Recently, I watched an old movie, The Day of the Jackal, in which Inspector Lebel is put in charge of hunting down the Jackal, a contract killer on a mission to assassinate President De Gaulle. When Lebel is offered the full resources of the French government, he asks for the help of only one colleague: “just Caron”. Lebel knows better than to hire a whole army of people to assist him.

So, when you assume a challenging task, form a team of two. Don’t mobilize a large team. Be like Inspector Lebel. “No one else, just Caron.”

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