Work Is Work | (Jan. 2020)

The Ceiling Is Low

The work capacity of an organization scales, at most, linearly as new members are added. … The ceaseless pursuit of force multipliers is the only possible route to superlinear productivity improvements as an organization grows.

The Floor Is Lava

Contention costs grow superlinearly as new members are added. … Staffing highly sequential efforts as if they were entirely parallel leads to catastrophe.

Hell Is Other People

Coherence costs grow quadratically as new members are added. … the total time spent communicating will grow quadratically as the work capacity of the organization grows linearly.

Principles From Beyond Space And Time

Keep the work parallel, the groups small, and the resources local

Prioritize the development of force multipliers

If possible, factor work products into independent modules; if not, grow slowly and optimize

Scale organizational efforts across a portfolio of synergistic products

Keep responsibility assignment matrices small, sparse, and local

Prioritize asynchronous information distribution over synchronous

What happens inside the boundaries is important