Response Article: Combining quantity and quality in large-scale projects

The specific post is a response to an article called “Combining quantity and quality in large-scale projects” by Ilias Galanopoulos.


The article is based on a chapter of a book called “The Mythical Man-Month”. As it is said in the introduction the post is working on finding an answer in the question: is it better to have a small group of really good programmers or a larger one with more that are mostly average programmers [1]? In other words, what is better, quality or quantity?

According to the book’s author in a large-scale project  it is needed to have groups with many programmers that work together as a team. However, it is really difficult for a  team to succeed harmony between the members. So, the solution is hierarchy. As in a surgery team, roles must be defined to the members. For example, the surgeon is the chief programmer and the copilot in the surgeon’s assistant etc.  The main advantages of this approach are that team members can work on a same task in order to save time and that discussions,which are time-consuming,  for a problem’s solution are avoided [2].

Finally, in the post’s last subsection the author comments about the writer’s approach of the subject and writes his opinion.


Firstly, I believe it is important to mention that I disagree with the opinion that the chief manager must make the decisions and the other member must do whatever he says. It is a matter of fact that if all the members of a group are equal then everyone would say and insist on the way that a problem should be solved and the result would be a contemporary “Babel”. However, it is significant for the chief manager to be open-minded and have the ability to listen to many opinions and discuss with all the group members and, as a result, decide which is the most appropriate  way to handle a situation.

Secondly, another point is the opinion that a solution is to use experienced programmers in important roles in the group  and bad programmers in tasks like testing. This solution could be efficient under specific circumstances. It is important for the leader to find the good programmers that will play the leading roles in the team and not to “sacrifice” good programmers in not so important tasks. Furthermore, it is also significant the not so good programmers not to feel like they belong to another team and be in an environment that do not underestimate them and pay attention to their opinions. This has as a result the team to communicate well and maintain in a good vibe. Under these circumstances I could say that I agree with the author in using this solution.

Finally,  in my opinion, the best way to manage a team in a large-scale project is mentioned at the end of the post. I agree totally that the best way is the divide the team members according to their speciality [2,3]. Like testers, engineers and administrators. However, I disagree with the fact that the post’s author does not analyse this solution as much as he could but insists in not so efficient ways to manage groups.


If I wanted to come to a conclusion, I could say that the post’s author has done a good job in the background analysis of the team management and some of the best ways to do it. Moreover, I think it would be better to write more about his opinion in the last suggestion.



[1] Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.. 1995. The Mythical Man-Month (Anniversary Ed.). Addison-Wesley Longman Publishing Co., Inc., Boston, MA, USA.

[2] Galanopoulos Ilias, 2014 , Combining quantity and quality in large-scale projects,

[3]  Software Engineering: Principles and Practice – Third Edition – Hans Van Vliet – Chapter 3 – 2008