How to Plan Manpower on a Web Team

by Shane Diffily

27 Reader Comments

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  1. This was an interesting article but in my experience teams are a thing of the past and most websites are made by one person maybe two tops,unless your working for a big time organization CNN ESPN etc.And if your reading articles online on how to effectivly organize a team then your probably not going to get the job in the first placea nd more than likely all spots have already been filled at all the top organizations already.

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  2. Umm…, this smacks of not taking into account the lessons of “The Mythical Man Month”: As you add people to a project the complexity of completing that project, no matter how simple, increases exponentially (my exteremely quick summary of one of the main lessons of the book). I agree that the basic math works out, but there is always a lot more to getting something done by division of labor amoungst other human beings which always manages to make things much more complicated than they need to be.

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  3. I think many web developers have struggle with manpower planning, especially for large projects. 

    I often forget that the busier the website – the more time it takes to maintain.  You brought up some good points to keep in mind when planning web development projects.


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  4. Good article! Resourcing has always been the bane of any system development. As someone who’s been in IT development for 33 years (yes I really am 38!), this whole question is not new and nobody has ever come up with an ‘A x B x C =  D people’ answer. Major consultancies still get it wrong so it’s no surprise smaller WebCo’s find it perplexing. I’ve worked on projects from > 300 people down to my current team of 5. Shane’s figures seem to fit our company as we’re involved in heavyweight, transactional J2EE Web systems — but then we have our own product for doing the development work which has taken 6 years to build and cuts our timescales and costs right back. Without it, I’d be looking at a team of probably 12 – 15 just to cope with current workloads, let alone other projects. I think anyone contemplating major transactional, high performance, high hit-rate Web systems should err on the high numbers side from personal experience. But then don’t ignore the increased management effect that higher staffing will require.

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  5. Great article, but I wonder if you’re aware how alienating the language is?

    I’ve worked in a web-related job for over ten years now; for the first six I wasn’t part of a team at all – one of the reasons I was interested in the content of your article. In common with other public services, many of the people I work with either as editors or page authors are female. It might seem like a small point, but while the subject matter should be of interest to anyone on a web team, I didn’t feel you were really talking to me.

    It’s 2006 – surely we’ve moved on a bit?

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  6. I calculate the necessary mandays the following way: ask a developer of your team. Multiply his estimation with the number of years he is away from 5 years work experience. Triple the result and that’s a good start. ;-)

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  7. Great article, although a few years old, still relevant!

    Does anyone have a useful web based tool for resource management, I literally cannot find a thing. We use Basecamp for pm stuff, but would love a resource hook in.



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