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COMP 523: Software Engineering

Smaller teams this semester

The class is capped at 80, but only 54 students signed up. This gives us the opportunity to try teams of 3 students rather than 4.

In the past, teams were 3 strong, and I’ve heard that actually worked better. (One of the key insights of software engineering is that you must manage the cost of communication overhead, and that cost is significantly higher with 4 students than with 3. Think of how many total possible handshakes there are with 3 people versus 4.)

Plus, we’ve had a record 41 client applications this semester, and it would be a shame to only accept 14 of them. Switching to teams of 3 means we can support 18 projects and 18 clients.

Normally, one of the biggest constraints on the class is the number of weekly mentor meetings that have to happen. But since I was already braced for 20 teams anyway, moving from 14 to 18 shouldn’t be a problem.