Monthly Archives: September 2008

The Bus Factor

This term simply stands as a reminder for, how many people need to get hit by a bus to leave you without anybody being familiar with one of your mission-critical applications. If the number equals one, you might re-consider your strategy…

Don’t forget, there are also more common ways for developers to go somewhere else (better offer, kids, sabbatical etc).

Conway’s Law

In an article from 1968 with the title “How Do Committees Invent?”, the author Melvin Conway makes the following point, which later became established as “Conway’s Law”:

“Any organization that designs a system will inevitably produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization’s communication structure.” (Original Article) (Conway’s Law on Wikipedia)

Conway suggested an approach containing the following steps:

  1. Define your business mission.
  2. Learn the business processes from the business owners.
  3. Re-engineer these business processes to match their mission.
  4. Structure your IT to support no 3.

His concluding points:

  • Design according to the need for communication.
  • Your design will never be perfect because things change and require your processes to adapt accordingly.
  • Reward people who keep the organization lean an flexible.
  • Adding more manpower does NOT equal adding productivity into a design effort.