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Great article to remind us of the 7(+/-2) axiom. We had a project recently with close to 20 engineers. We broke the team up into 4 teams: Firmware, FPGA, Hardware, and sort of steering team that managed the coordination with the development teams and Ops/Management/Finance. It worked well. As I read your article I realized our division followed the 7(+/-2) rule. We didn't consciously follow the rule. But your article is illuminating and next time, I'm sure we'll be more conscious of it. Thanks!

George Ellis

Brian T. Phelps

This isn't news. In 1920, Lord Robert Baden-Powel consolidated notes he had assembled on the training of boys through Scouting and published them as Aids to Scoutmastership. He wrote,

"The Patrol System is the one essential feature in which Scout training differs from that of all other organisations, and where the System is properly applied, it is absolutely bound to bring success. It cannot help itself!

The formation of the boys into Patrols of from six to eight and training them as separate units each under its own responsible leader is the key to a good Troop.

The Patrol is the unit of Scouting always, whether for work or for play, for discipline or for duty.  An invaluable step in character training is to put responsibility on to the individual. This is immediately gained in appointing a Patrol Leader to responsible command of his Patrol. It is up to him to take hold of and to develop the qualities of each boy in his Patrol. It sounds a big order, but in practice it works. Then, through emulation and competition between Patrols, you produce a Patrol spirit which is eminently satisfactory, since it raises the tone among the boys and develops a higher standard of efficiency all round. Each boy in the Patrol realises that he is in himself a responsible unit and that the honour of his group depends in some degree on his own ability in playing the game."

It's still true for boys and girls, and it's also true for adults. People can work more effectively in groups of five to nine.

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