On the importance of two pizza teams

20 years ago   •   1 min read

By Marcia Kadanoff

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos says the best way to keep good ideas percolating is to “do as many experiments per unit of time as possible. If you’re doing an experiment (that) costs $100 million and takes three years, well, you’re not going to be able to do very much innovation. If, on the other hand, you can organize in small, lightweight teams that have certain tools so they can do a lot of experiments per week or per month or whatever the right unit of time is, then you’ll get a lot more invention from that.” Bezos calls the ideal size team a “two-pizza” team: “To the degree that you can get people in a team small enough that they can be fed on two pizzas, you’ll get a lot more productivity. About six people is a good size. But it depends on how hungry the people are.” The downside of larger groups, says Bezos, is that as they get bigger, they have to spend more time coordinating. “This is sometimes very misunderstood, but if you want to have a good work environment where people can really build, you don’t want them to have to spend a lot of time coordinating,” says Bezos. When looking toward a future goal, Bezos says, “What we’ve talked about for years is that we want to be like Sony in a way. If you go back and look at the early history of Sony, one of [co-founder Akio”> Morita-san’s goals was he wanted to make Japan known for quality, which is a great goal, because it transcended Sony. And by the way—he did it! In a similar way what we have always wanted to do?Ķ is to set new standards for what it means to provide good customer experience.”

Business Week 19 Aug 2004


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