The 4 people, 1 pizza team startup setup

11/05/2017 | By Aleksander Bordvik

This post originally appeared on

Most managers are of the view that their employees should communicate more with each other for the best results.

Thus, they stack them up in a single group and push for all of them to work together. This forces people who have nothing in common or people who have a rubbed shoulders in the past to work together.

Increasing your group members does seem like it will directly yield positive results with respect to keeping time and providing good quality work.

Jeff Bezos, who is the founder and CEO of Amazon, was the opposing idea. He did not value communication within the workplace and followed this up by creating a two-pizza team rule.

This rule has upgraded into a philosophy that requires the ideal team to be the size of a family that shares a family-style pizza. Just as the saying goes, “Too many cooks spoil the broth”.

The rationales behind the four-people pizza team plan:

  • Communication is the main issue. As groups increase in size and number, the communication deteriorates. Experts attribute this deterioration to the links within the group. A group of six people already has about fifteen links. For each person to communicate, it may take a lot of time, energy, and the difference in opinions might even cause conflict. To coordinate such a large group in the performance of a single task will lower the general productivity of the entire team.
  • Frustration and stress. Experts are of the view that people in teams tend to be more stressed and frustrated. Taking into account the number of links within the team, there is bound to be one individual who may feel left out or underappreciated.

The need to get the approval of the rest of the members deteriorates the situation even further by reducing their focus from the task. In addition to this, as the team increases the feeling of support diminishes leading to frustration, stress, and reduced communication between the links.

Smaller teams are supportive of each member’s needs and want. The team members supplement each other to achieve the best.

Tips to Selecting A for Pizza Team Startup

  1. Set the standard magic number- This four people pizza rule was coined by Bob Sutton, who is a Navy Seal. He supports this by stating that single digits work better. He equates the number to that needed during combat. Thus, if you have large teams start splitting them into sub-groups of four people.
  2. Cheers rule- This rule aims at bringing the members closer. This rule is a form of team building. Creating tasks that the members can perform together. The idea is to make the four people tight-knit in that they will feel the need to support each other gradually through tasks.
  3. Transparency as the secret ingredient-The teams needs to come up with systems that will help them access data and forecasts more openly with the aim of managing their work. Miscommunication and misinformation are very common in groups that have more linkages. Smaller groups tend to accommodate “self-service transparency”. This is the type of transparency that distributes information and power via tools, processes, and systems, which help people move forward as a team

This is enough to make managers divide their teams into smaller groups that can perform more tasks in a shorter period. Larger teams make people overconfident, which reduce the quality of the work done. It also makes the team members underestimate the cost and time taken to complete the task. This leads to overdue deadlines with pathetic input.

Stipulated Tasks for the Four People Pizza Team Startup

  • Hustler- This team member works to convince the prospective customers to purchase their goods or subscribe to their services. The hustler should be very convincing by simply using their words to wheel in the buyers.
  • Visual wizard- This member is responsible for creating the brand of the team. The wizard should be creative and innovative enough to come up with ideas and bring them to life. The wizard should be able to come up with ideas from scratch.
  • Technical magician- This is the programmer of the team. He or she should be well versed with technology as it advances. They are responsible for creating the team system that will cater to the work transparency, security of ideas and finances, among other things. They should also be exceptional coders, who are able to spellbind different APIs.
  • Growth hacker- This member is responsible for the online image of the brand. They should work with the hustler to make sure that they market their brand properly to attract the highest number of clientele base. They should strategize plans with the hustler to come up with ways of handling digital channels and social media platforms.