Pizza a way forward for groups

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Amazon's Jeff Bezos believes in "two pizza teams"
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos believes in “two pizza teams”: if a team couldn’t be fed with two pizzas, it was too big. Image credit: http://teknoids.net

Committees ! How many of us loath committees? Though committees on the surface seem to be the a good thing somehow it slows progress. There is a joke that asserts that a camel is just a horse designed by a committee. Well I guess in our part of the world the joke would be on the horse rather than the camel. Anyhow, the point of the humor is that groups are not always productive and it sometimes suffer from “groupthink”.  This many sound wonderful, ‘hey a group which actually thinks’. This is one of those things which cannot be far from the truth. It actually means that the groups tends to loose the benefits of independent thought and just agree with each other. Everyone simply ends up patting each other on the back rather than creating something great.

“Throughout history groups have created great consensus, however there are times that groups have conferred to maintain the balance of power  withing themselves”, Sarah Newton a Sociology Teacher in Boston told Arabian Gazette. “Groups can be productive if they are within a certain number limit. The proverb too many cooks spoil the soup in many instances is applicable to groups.”

So how do we make a group more productive? Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos solves that problem with a two-pizza rule. According to productivity and ideas blog the 99u, Bezos uses pizza as a measure for choosing size of his teams. Basically, if a team can’t be fed two pizzas, then the team is too big. The brain finds it difficult to handle a lot of people at one time, so its not a surprise that smaller teams tend to work better.

However can this rule be an efficient measure?

“Pizza is a personal choice” Madeline Pierson a student in Dubai told Arabian Gazette. “each individual loves different toppings.  The topping I like my best doesn’t like and vice versa. “

There are many variables which needs to be considered in this case. Fist  the pizza itself. What size would the pizza be? What would be the topping? All of these factors are pre-determined.The individual who is trying to form the group would have already purchased the pizza.

If we are able to feed a team with only two options of pizza, we have already selected like minded people for the team. The people whom we selected would agree that at least one of these pizzas is what they want. This seems to be a stepping stone towards Groupthink.

This theory also needs to be considered in terms of age and cultural. Would this idea work in every setting? It might gain momentum with a younger crowd but would a more elderly group be willing to participate?Would this rule be applicable anywhere in the world?Would a pure vegan in urban India be willing to eat a totally meat pizza? If the answer is No, then the diversity of the group is compromised.

The most brilliant of minds cannot always be right!

We would love to know your take on this. Please let us know in the comments!

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