Model: team formation time = group size and group stability

December 19th, 2020


Group size

A larger group takes longer to grow into a team.

It's harder and therefore takes more time.

A team needs trust and alignment.


Trust is partially built in the entire group at once.

Trust has some transitive property.

Model: trust is transitive

But that only acts as an accelerator for trust to spread.

If there isn't a lot to start with, this won't have any impact.


The main part, the daily work, is in the individual relationships.

Investing in the relationship, making sure the Model: Emotional Bankaccount's balance is high.

Adding someone to a group, increases the amount of individual relationships exponentially.

So there is more relationships to invest in and maintain.

And that is on top of the  already existing ones.

eg. Adding a person to a group of 4, adds 4 extra individual relationships

eg. Adding a person to a group of 10, adds 10 extra relationships.

And it's not just 'one extra relationship each' because in Model: triangle relationships the others are also responsible for the relationship between 2 individuals.


So in smaller groups it's easier

  • to build trust

  • to maintain trust


Group stability

Every change in group members causes a shock to the group's culture.


One aspect of a group's culture is the level of trust Model: trust is transitive

And any change in the group's composition:

  • someone leaving

  • someone joining

any change can reduce this transitive trust.

With big enough changes, it can disappear, requiring it to be build up from nothing again.


Another aspect of a group's culture is agreed upon ways of working.

These are often built on shared experienced.

And any change in group composition,

especially someone joining,

creates the need to revisit these agreements.


In agile teams, they keep the ways of working flexible.

Constantly adapting to external and internal changes.