#253 – Team Cognitive Overload

Team Topologies authors Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais define Team Cognitive Load as “The total amount of mental effort a team uses to understand, operate and maintain their designated systems or tasks.” That is, it’s the cognitive burden collectively experienced by a team in achieving its objectives.

Work distribution, team dynamics and complexity of the system can affect the total cognitive capacity, and balancing TCL can help improve the team’s value-add and foster a sustainable pace, whereas a too high TCL can lead to mistakes, burnout and reduced efficiency and effectiveness. In Team Topologies, the different types of teams and their interfaces reduce TCL, so go look that up if you haven’t already.