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.