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### Re: OT: The mythical man month - have we learned nothing?

by chaoticset (Chaplain)
 on Feb 21, 2006 at 16:17 UTC ( #531730=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Along the same idea as the sound bite suggestion -- if the sound bite doesn't actually have to make sense (and these are managers, remember), ask them how much faster four guys can run a relay race than two guys can run the same race.

It's not the same thing at all, of course -- but it will make them think about sequential issues for a half-second, and if that's a half-second longer than they were, that's probably an improvement.

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• Comment on Re: OT: The mythical man month - have we learned nothing?

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Re^2: OT: The mythical man month - have we learned nothing?
by Anonymous Monk on Feb 21, 2006 at 22:33 UTC
That fails, though.

If I have a thousand people, I just line the track with people standing in line waiting for the baton; and they just pass it forward, they don't even have to move, just the baton does.

That might well be faster than sending a running gasping his way around a track. The situation isn't cut and dried, and to be a good management metaphor, it should be.

A more appropriate analogy might be, "how much faster can an 8 man team run a 4 leg relay race than a 4 man team?"
It only fails because people have width. If we're willing to remove the concept of race from a relay race (and, in my mind, we shouldn't; if nobody's moving, that's not actually a race, IMHO), then we could also remove all non-essential physical distances -- such as human width and depth, and the length of the baton. With the baton being represented by a point and each runner represented similarly, the argument that enough people streamline the process becomes invalid.

(And I realize a relay race would be absurd to imagine in reality with a point-sized baton; however, I retort that a relay race where several thousand people pass a baton around a track could happen, but never would.)

While it might be faster, it's still not a very good argument against the metaphor. (Plus, any manager that says what you just said would immediately be thrown out of Manager Club*.)

###### * The first rule of Manager Club is you do not talk about Manager Club. The second rule of Manager Club is that you DO NOT TALK ABOUT MANAGER CLUB. The third rule is that the agenda for each meeting must be outlined by an Agenda Committee, consisting of at least three but no more than seven of the officers of the Manager Club, and provided to each included member at the outset of each meeting in hardcopy with a table of contents, a short summary, a summary of each item on the agenda, space for notes, and the bullet points each presenting member will be providing (for further rules on presenting members, please see Manager Club Rules 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 34, 35, 117, 118, 293, and appendices B, C, and F.)

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