Once upon a time there was a business that constantly tried to put out fires using oil. The company didn’t know that oil doesn’t put out fires and it constantly wondered why the fires kept raging. So the business kept throwing more and more oil at its fires hoping that some day they would cease.
This seems to be a prevalent syndrome in companies. Managers often attempt to solve problems by adding more resources, assuming that having more people on a team will, without any doubt, resolve all problems. When in reality the root of the problem is in the company’s management itself – not the team, not the project, not the customer, not the government, not the delivery boy, not the competitors, not the coffee – but management.
Adding more people to a disorganized project can only lead to confusion, reduced morale, dissatisfaction, and failure. With newcomers on the project, the existing team is implicitly told by management that “they can’t do the job, so we need other people in”. The newcomers on the other hand have no background information and history on the project, making their usefulness questionable, and leaving them also with lower morale in the long run. In the end, you’ll have disgruntled employees that no longer feel like contributing to the project and that will question their role in the company.
Management that fails to see this will end up “burning down the place”, because you can’t put out a fire by adding more oil to it. If the fire does get put out, it just means there is not a single bit of fuel left; all has turned to ashes.