Saturday, February 09, 2013

A Corollary to "Adding More Developers to a Late Project Only Makes it Later"

In The Mythical Man-Month, Fred Brooks found that adding more programmers to a late project only made it later:

The equation is something like this:

If time-spent-adding-programmer > work-new-programmer-produces then 

Recently occurred to me there is a corollary to the idea I hadn't previously considered:

If time-spent-code-reviewing-programmer > time-another-programmer-would have-fixed-issue then

In plain English, if the time spent by a programmer producing buggy code plus time spent by other programmers in code reviews is greater than the time other team members could fix said bugs, your project ships later. 

It seems like the right corrective action is to fire the underperforming developer for the project to not fall further behind. 

Shorter version: keeping a bad programmer on a project always makes it later.