Jessica Kerr wrote a very interesting post on bell curves and engineering teams. Jessica’s point is that bell curves are for random distributions, and that when teams share information and learn from each other, they no longer can be modeled by a random distribution. I think this as true, and a valuable insight. It reminded me of a different, related observation about teams and bell curves. Back in the 1980s, when he was applying analytics to baseball teams, Bill James argued that a common feature of the decisions made by poorly performing organizations was the assumption that baseball talent was normally distributed and could be modeled with a bell curve.