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Lean & Startup Patterns - Interview w/ Sam McAfee by @TriKro

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Second, as a process develops it tends to get more complex over time, particularly as you add people to it. As you grow, you find ways to streamline the process. Sometimes you try to do this by breaking complex tasks down into smaller, simpler ones that can be aggregated and assigned to one person for efficiency. You can see this in separating design and engineering from each other, or separating testing or quality assurance from development. It seems efficient to combine the overhead.

The problem though is that you are now introducing a larger batch size into one or another step in the process, and as Reinertsen deftly illustrates, there are severe costs that accompany increasing batch size in product development. You have to be damned sure that your costs savings in combining overhead outweigh the cost of the delays incurred from queues of half-finished work that accumulate because of larger batches. I can tell you 99% of the time it doesn’t. But most startups don’t understand the science of queues or batch sizes. If there is a single most important reason I am writing the book, it’s probably this point.

That's a really good point.

It's hard to keep things simple because left to their own devices, things get more complicated.

It's the hidden costs that really hurt a startup.

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