Too many Indians and not enough chiefs!
I am always amazed by India. India has mastered the art of spreading valuable assets thinly. The meat is tiny pieces in Chinese fried rice in India. The portions of chicken are minute in biryani (to my dismay.) Managers are also spread thin at Indian software companies.
Managers are expensive in India
The reason why the ratio of managers to workers in India is so bad is because the pay rate for managers is very high since managers are in such short supply. In America, a manager might get paid 20-100% more than a worker. But, in India, a manager might get paid 2x to 8x the amount a worker gets in a high tech company for example. I don’t know the exact number, and the numbers change over time — but, this is the approximation of the reality.
You can’t watch your workers
The problem with having too many workers and not enough managers is that you can’t really watch your workers if you are so spread out. If you have self-managing workers, you don’t need to watch them much, and you don’t need to critique their work.
My way of looking at this problem is as follows.
If you have twenty-four workers who are all completely self-sustaining and know exactly what to do with hardly any intervention, then you might be able to have ten or more to a manager. I’m not sure if twenty-four works even under ideal circumstances. But, many workers play tricks, or don’t know how to get things done. If you have a team of twenty-four, it is likely that many will be trouble in some way, shape or form. New workers who have not been screened should ideally be placed in smaller teams so their work can be evaluated. If they do flawless work and can function without intervention, then perhaps they can be transferred to a larger team. New workers and problem workers need to be in smaller teams where you can keep more of an eye on them. In my opinion, the value of a worker is proportional to their productivity minus the amount of hell you go through trying to manage them. In many cases, many workers might have a sub-zero value (put on your sweater and winter hat.)
My personal story
I have too many things to do and several people to manage. I can’t manage them and do my own work at the same time. I have to put something on the back burner since I’m so busy. Unfortunately, it is common for me to get behind trying to manage my programmers. I just wonder how far behind a manager with twenty-four workers gets? Perhaps they just are not really managing those people at all…