In the course of applying for positions in software development, I have been asked to indicate the team size and number of lines of code of the largets project I have worked on. Unforunately, while I have been in software development for roughly 10 years, I feel unable to answer this question accurately:
I can make a vague guess here. However, the larger the project, the less I ever got in touch with the whole team. Especially the larger projects I was a part of had quite a bit of hierarchical organization, in which I only ever got in touch with representatives of other branches of the project, each of whom spoke for a whole team of developers, whose size I never became aware of.
On top of that, I hardly ever witnessed a project from its first day till its last day. Therefore, I usually do not know how many people contributed to the project in previous or later phases.
Lines of code (LoC):
For similar reasons as above, I simply have no idea how large the projects were I worked on in terms of LoC. Especially in the larger projects, there usually was a clear distribution of responsibilities, in such a way that I usually wouldn't look into code of modules I did not interface with and hence I even have no idea whether most of the other modules were larger or smaller than the modules I was responsible for. Moreover, given that LoC are quite a meaningless metric unless the actual measurement method is well-defined, I never bothered to find out even for the code I wrote myself.
So, how do I answer the question for the largest project in terms of team size and LoC I was involved in?
- Describe the dimensions of a smaller project? I can tell with absolute certainty that for some of my own open source projects, team size = 1 and LoC = around 50,000 is true. This information would be definitely truthful, but might misrepresent my experience in working on larger projects.
- Pick an arbitrary, smaller project? This might allow me to make a somewhat accurate guess, but is certainly not answering the question for the largest project.
- Say I do not know, like in this question. The self-assessment question (on a form ...) does not expect such a long answer. Also, stating briefly "I do not know." might come across as more disinterested in the projects than what I think I am (frankly, I do not see lack of knowledge about team size of LoC any more as a sign of disinterest in a project than lack of knowledge about an author's birth date and age indicates disinterest in their novels) ... or maybe that is just a paranoid fear?