R – What methodology is closest to the Surgical Team in The Mythical Man-Month?


The Mythical Man-Month is now classic, but the "Surgical Team" methodology is still interesting. What methodology most closely resembles it or has the same essence?

To summarize the Surgical Team analogy:
A surgeon understands the problem/business domain and is the expert. They are the authority when there are questions or conflict with in the team. The surgeons work between themselves when there are issues, say with design, functioning as a smaller tight team of experts. So in essence they have the knowledge of the domain, are entrusted to do they think is right, and do the actual coding? The rest of the team focuses on support, testing, documentation, and project plans are delegated tasks. Consequently the surgeon is also the most skilled/trained resource.

The answer could be project, programming, design methodologies as it seems to have implications across main methodology domains. Agile, MDA, Extreme, in sourcing development?
This question also make more sense for software that is large in a complex business domain, think air traffic control, not a COTS developer to or common utility.

Best Solution

One of the patterns mentioned in Organizational Patterns of Agile Software Development is titled "Three to Seven Helpers per Role"; it differs from Surgical Team in that it pays attention to every role, for example it isn't only that the surgeon 'role' that has helpers or relationships: all roles have some number of relationships.

Another pattern from the same source in named "Architect Also Implements", which may be analogous to "Surgical Team" in that the Architect in particular is (presumably) highly skilled.

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