NO.10 Are Man-Month Contracts Effective?

  • Idea:
    Assigning more programmers to a project running behind schedule will make it even later, due to the time required for the new programmers to learn about the project, as well as the increased communication overhead. When N people have to communicate among themselves (without a hierarchy), as N increases, their output M decreases and can even become negative, i.e., the total work remaining at the end of a day is greater than the total work that had been remaining at the beginning of that day, such as when many bugs are created.

    • Group Intercommunication Formula: n(n − 1) / 2
    • Example: 50 developers give 50 · (50 – 1) / 2 = 1225 channels of communication.

    Thus, if a company made a contract with an software company, and the pay is calculated by Man-month, it will cause the incentive problem--since the software company will offer more developers but they are intending to cost more time.
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