I have been reading a really interesting book on design management by Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. The Design of Design. Chapter 6 covers "Collaboration in Design". He makes some interesting observations, and points that make sense. Especially about two-person design teams.

In the chapter, on page 81, “Two-Person Teams Are Magical”, he notes…

“The typical dynamics of two-person design collaboration seem different from those of multi-person design and solo design. Two people will interchange ideas rapidly and informally, with neither a protocol as to who has the floor nor domination by one partner. Each holds the floor for short bursts. The process switches rapidly among micro-sessions of proposal, review, and resolution.There is typically a single thread of idea development, without the maintenance of separate individual threads of thought as in multi-person discussions. Two pencils may move over the same paper with neither collision nor contradiction”

In my experience whether using paper and pen, or a large white board, two-person teams are incredibly efficient at working through very tough challenges. I have personally witnessed engineers and designers coming out of their shell, so to speak, working together to solve a problem, or work through an idea. This has been the pleasure in engineering for me. Working alone once the path has been established, is just easier when you know you have a partner that will work with you in the ideation phase of solving the issue at hand. Once you experience the feeling of working in a two-person team, you want to keep that going.

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