The Smaller Donut


I took my two sons to Top Pot Donuts on Saturday morning.  My three year old son Olin was trying to take down a large powdered sugar donut.  He has had his fair share of donuts over the years (all three of them).  However, all that practice in eating donuts hasn't made him any speedier at this task.  Trick for him was dealing with both the shape of it, plus the powder, plus the fact that we wanted to get out of there pretty fast so we can continue our adventure that day. 

He started by eating a layer around the outside.  Sort of like a corn eating technique.  It was taking a long long time.  My oldest son was done, and I was ready to go.  I took action.  I broke the donut into 3 pieces.  

Turns out, with 3 small pieces, he was able to finish quickly.  The smaller pieces required less coordination.  Only one hand had to be on the powder so he didn't have to stop and wipe his hands as often.  And he had a very clear place to attack the problem.  There was an "end" to the donut.  He finished and we were off on our adventure.  

I feel like our engineering teams are like the donut (bare with me here).  I've been spending a lot of time over the last 6 months thinking about the throughput of our engineering teams.  I've often thought that our team size of 7-8 engineers makes for more conversation overhead than is necessary.  We recently broke up the teams into smaller groups.  Now we have teams that range from 3-6.  So far, our throughput on any particular project has increased, but not by that much.  And we are able to work on more projects at once.  Like the donut, the team can more easily decide on how to attack the problem.  Less coordination.  Overall, the throughput on the roadmap is increasing.  Be fun to see how this plays out in the organization.