Also called: Hackman's Law of Group Performance, Hackman's Model of Group Effectiveness, Hackman's Theory of Group Performance, Hackman's Framework of Group Performance, Hackman's Principle of Group Performance, Group Performance Model of Hackman, Group Effectiveness Theory of Hackman, Group Performance Framework of Hackman, and Group Performance Principle of Hackman
Relevant metrics: Quality of Work, Time Spent on Task, Level of Autonomy, Level of Skill Variety, and Level of Task Significance
What is Hackman’s Law?
Hackman’s Law states that the effectiveness of a team is determined by the sum of its members’ abilities and the quality of their interactions.
The effectiveness of a team is determined by the sum of its members’ abilities and the quality of their interactions
The effectiveness of a team is determined by the clarity of the team’s purpose, the degree of autonomy given to the team, and the level of resources provided to the team. It was first proposed by J. Richard Hackman, an American social and organizational psychologist and suggests that teams should be given the freedom to make decisions and be provided with the resources they need to be successful.
Teams should be given the freedom to make decisions and be provided with the resources they need to be successful
Where did Hackman’s Law come from?
Hackman’s Law is a term coined by American psychologist J. Richard Hackman in the 1970s. This law is based on the idea that the more effort each member puts into the group, the more successful the group will be. Hackman’s Law is often used to explain why some teams are more successful than others, and why some teams are more productive than others. It is also used to explain why some teams are more successful in achieving their goals than others.
Hackman’s Law: Understanding the Impact of Group Dynamics on Performance
Hackman’s Law states that the effectiveness of a group is determined by five core elements:
- The composition of the group. An important factor in determining the effectiveness of a group. Consider the size of the group, the diversity of the members, and the level of expertise of the members all play a role in the performance of the group.
- The structure of the group. Determines how the members interact with each other and how decisions are made.
- The task the group is assigned. A key factor, as it determines the goals and objectives of the group and the strategies used to achieve them.
- The leadership of the group. Sets the tone for the group and provides guidance and direction.
- The context in which the group operates. Determines the resources available to the group and the external factors that may influence the group’s performance.
This law is used to understand the impact of group dynamics on performance, and to identify areas of improvement in order to maximize the effectiveness of a group. By understanding the impact of group dynamics on performance, organizations can use Hackman’s Law to identify areas of improvement and maximize the effectiveness of their teams.
Hackman’s Law and similar principles
Hackman’s Law, which states that a team’s effectiveness is determined by the design of its tasks, management support, and the team’s composition, has several similarities and differences to other laws related to agile and leadership. Here’s a brief overview of how Hackman’s Law relates to some of the other well-known laws in this space:
Conway’s Law states that organizations design systems that mirror their communication structure. In the context of agile and leadership, this law is often cited to emphasize the importance of cross-functional collaboration and communication. While Conway’s Law and Hackman’s Law address different aspects of team effectiveness, they both highlight the importance of designing teams in a deliberate and thoughtful manner to achieve better outcomes.
Brooks’s Law states that adding manpower to a late software project only makes it later. This law emphasizes the importance of managing project complexity and avoiding the pitfalls of overstaffing. While Hackman’s Law doesn’t directly address the issue of overstaffing, it does suggest that team composition is an important factor in determining team effectiveness. By carefully designing teams to include individuals with the right skills and knowledge, teams can be more effective and avoid the risks of Brooks’s Law.
Goodhart’s Law states that when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure. In the context of agile and leadership, this law is often used to highlight the potential pitfalls of using metrics to drive behavior. While Hackman’s Law doesn’t directly address the issue of metrics, it does suggest that task design and management support are important factors in driving team effectiveness. By focusing on these factors, leaders can create an environment where teams are more likely to succeed.
Larman’s Law of Organizational Behavior
Larman’s Law of Organizational Behavior states that people are more likely to act their way into a new way of thinking than think their way into a new way of acting. In the context of agile and leadership, this law is often cited to emphasize the importance of experiential learning and experimentation. While Larman’s Law and Hackman’s Law address different aspects of team effectiveness, they both suggest that effective teams are the result of deliberate and thoughtful design.
Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. In the context of agile and leadership, this law is often used to emphasize the importance of timeboxing and creating deadlines. While Parkinson’s Law and Hackman’s Law address different aspects of team effectiveness, they both suggest that effective teams are the result of intentional design and management.
- Agile Teams: How Hackman's Task Characteristics Theory Influences Team Effectiveness in Journal of Leadership, Accountability, and Ethics by J. Lynn Ramirez-Loaiza (2017)
- Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances by J. Richard Hackman (2002)
- Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen (2006)
- The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni (2002)
- Agile Excellence for Product Managers: A Guide to Creating Winning Products with Agile Development Teams by Greg Cohen (2011)
Want to learn more?
Receive a hand picked list of the best reads on building products that matter every week. Curated by Anders Toxboe. Published every Tuesday.
No spam! Unsubscribe with a single click at any time.
Product Loop provides an opportunity for Product professionals and their peers to exchange ideas and experiences about Product Design, Development and Management, Business Modelling, Metrics, User Experience and all the other things that get us excited.Join our community
Made with in Copenhagen, Denmark
Want to learn more about about good product development, then browse our product playbooks.