The Parkinson’s Limit and agile team size

In the January issue of New Scientist, there is a article about Parkinson's Law and how researchers in Austria put the law in a more scientific footing via mathematic. The essence of the law is, "work expands to fill the time available for its completion", which is intriguing  but I am more interested in the second half of the article where Parkinson's limit is discussed.

Parkinson conjectured that there is a limit to any working group/committee size (20) beyond which no consensus would be reached no matter how the group is structured. I am curious whether this is also the limit of an agile/XP team size since an agile team tends to be of a flatter structurally (verses the traditional hierarchical nature).
Parkinson also noted that there is an anomaly around group with 8 members. He noticed that, for example, no nation has cabinet of 8 members. I have the good(?) fortune of working with teams sized on either size of 8 so I can't verify this claim. I wonder what are the proportion of previous failed or not so successful projects had exactly 8 team members. Then the question of how would one define team members. Would only developers, testers, BA count as a team member and not PM because they work very closely together day-in and day-out, whereas PM less so?
If you have previously (or currently) worked with team of 8 or larger than 20, what is your experience? Does the group dynamic change when the group size hit 8 or grew larger than 20?

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NY ALT.NET October meeting

Last Wednesday the NY ALT.NET group met up again at the Microsoft office. This time we discussed various project management techniques (Agile, Scrum, etc.). We had a great turn out with nearly 40 members, all cramped into a medium size room. ThoughtWorks (my employer) sponsored the food and drinks of this meeting and we were greeted with fantastic pizza!

 

 

 

This time round, the video streams are provided by Vimeo after I experienced continuous upload issue with MobileMe’s gallery from iMovie. So far I have been very impressed by their service and quality, and would be migrating all of the existing NY ALT.NET videos to Vimeo in the next two weeks. Hopefully I’ll be recording in HD when Santa delivers a brand new HD camera in Dec! 🙂