Seated meetings are longer
by an average of
than standing meetings, without
being more effective.
Source: Journal of Applied Psychology
To keep project teams focused and efficient, Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of online
retailer Amazon, established a two-pizza rule: Teams are limited to seven people—
generally the number of team members that can split two pizzas for lunch. His rule
of thumb has since spread to other tech companies.
“On a large team, project managers typically have more diversity to manage,
as well as many more lines of communication that can get crossed,” says Colin
McCall-Peat, PMP, a consultant for the project portfolio office at Post Vision
Technology, Johannesburg, South Africa. “It’s also far more difficult to
keep everyone up-to-date with all aspects of the project, sim-
ply due to the logistics and costs of regular feedback
meetings with a large team.”
Take a tip from many agile teams and ditch the weekly
sit-down status meetings in favor of short, daily check-ins
where everyone stands. Seated meetings are longer than
standing meetings—by 34 percent, on average, according
to a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology—
without being more effective.
Break it Down
Projects that require more than a handful of team members may benefit from being broken
down into sub-projects with sub-teams.
“A large team makes communication rather inefficient,” says Neda Akbarzadeh, PMP,
operations performance analyst for the U.S. Department of the Navy in Annapolis, Mary-
land, USA. “Instead, assign team leads to groups of five or less, and stay in constant
communication with the team leads to address unresolved issues.”
Team leaders should meet regularly with the project manager for overall feed-
back and direction, Mr. McCall-Peat says. And a monthly all-team meeting
with the project sponsor can help ensure cohesion across sub-teams.