Ask some what’s the key factor for success and they’ll say team.

Ask others what’s the key factor for success and they’ll say code.

In many circumstances, many problems can be solved by shipping code.

Revenue down? Ship! Morale down? Ship. Customer sat down? Ship.


An orientation to ship and Get Shhhhhhhet Done (TM) is valued in many cultures.

An orientation towards team is valued in many others.

It’s not pretty when the two cultures clash.

To those that want to ship, meetings with others, talk, policy, and process is viewed as communication overhead that adds little value at best, and is catastrophic at worst. They have a deadline to hit. Stop talking about your feelings and your preferred language and service bus and just write code already.

To those that want to work together, shipping without meeting adds little value at best, and is catastrophic at worst. Some people are going to run all the way ahead without the team, write a ton of code that is less maintainable, and force a piece of unsupportable technical debt that will never die. Some will interpret a desire to not talk as an insult. Come on back and let’s talk it out together as a team.

To shippers, time spent talking is wasted while time spent doing is beneficial.
To talkers, time spent talking is a form of doing, while time spent doing, without the team, is wasteful.

I don’t have a verdict.

I do understand context.

In a context where speed to market and first-mover advantage is critical, a small team comprised of exceptional, ship-oriented, people is best. So long as the heatshield / tarpholder understands that adding a fifth, sixth, or seventh body to the equation will cause catastrophic deceleration to the project, everything should be fine. The code really doesn’t need to live on beyond a typical 36 month period, and, all those involved don’t have their emotions intertwined with the code.

In a context where speed to market doesn’t matter, a much larger team, comprised of median-to-high talented individuals, with moderate-churn and high cohesiveness, you need a strong talk-it-out dynamic because there is no other way to derive value from the 30th, 31st, and 32nd bodies added.

There’s a lot of grey in between both extremes.

People tend to gravitate where their preferences dictate.