I'm in a class this term made up of a diverse set of students from different colleges at the university
. A little diversity is a good thing, but don't let anyone lie to you and say it makes things more efficient. Diversity never speeds anything up. The value of diversity comes from different points of view and normally more discussion on topics.
To the point, my professor assigned a final project with only two weeks left in the term. This would be ok, but he also assigned our teams with members coming from different programs. On my team I only knew one member which is the same case for everyone else except for one guy who didn't know anyone else. We spent the first third of our time working together finding out who the other team members are and we aren't meeting until we pass the half way point of the project. Based on this I realized that we have a problem. My attention has been drawn to the size of the diverse team.
When a team has been working together prior to a new assignment, the group dynamic has already been established and there is already a lot of research into how team size relates to team dynamics. However, I have a new rule of thumb for new team formation (at least in acedemia). A team should consist of no more then 1 member per week for the length of the assignment plus 1.
Team Members <= Project Weeks + 1
As an example, for this 2 week project, we should have at most 3 team members. If we were given 4 weeks, then 5 members would have been acceptable. If you only have a project lasting a week, then you shouldn't have more than 2 members. Whether you buy into the concept that a team should be 5 members or 8 members (or somewhere in between) will set your threshold as to how far this can be extrapolated to, but for most short projects, this makes a lot of sense ot me based on my experience with successful and less sucessful teams.