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Small is Beautiful



Mike Williams discusses large vs. small software development teams, concluding that smaller teams are better suited for most cases.


Mike Williams moved to Sweden in 1970 and joined Ericsson as a hardware designer. He and Bjarne Däcker founded the Ericsson Computer Science Laboratory 1980 where Erlang was invented. Mike's role was to develop the first Erlang virtual machine (Joe developed the compiler and machine architecture). In 1990 Mike glided into management by a complete accident, and found he rather liked it.

About the conference

This year’s Erlang Factory SF Bay Area 2012 had an A-list sell-out line-up of speakers which included Erlang Inventors Mike Williams and Robert Virding discussing software approaches used in the industry and the unique features of the Erlang VM and a Keynote talk from Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of The Linux Foundation.

Recorded at:

Nov 28, 2012

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Community comments

  • It's worse.

    by Jeff Hain,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    "Working in groups drastically reduces our intelligence and ability to think logically"
    This adds up to the fact that, even if people were still as smart while in groups,
    having to work in groups, and synchronize with other people, would still be a bottleneck
    in software projects, due to the cost of information sharing (it takes time to explain
    things to people, and they rarely get it right, or have to figure out the details by
    (More on this here:

    This is by the way what explains Brooks statement:
    "Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later."

    And the fact that managers often overlook the amount of details that need to be take care of
    to translate things from the approximations of natural languages to the exactness of
    programming languages, could be explained by this Bertrand Russell's statement:
    "Everything is vague to a degree you don't realize until you have tried to make it precise."

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