Conway’s Law

Conway’s Law 2018-02-13T12:58:16+00:00


Conway’s Law is seen as more of an observed phenomenon. This phenomenon is that the products software teams tend to create, often reflected their organizational communication structure. The reason why it’s important to understand Conway’s Law and be aware of how it could affect your DevOps movement inside your organization is because it goes straight to the point of how organizations might use Conway’s Law to drive their possible DevOps organizational change. The key question Conway’s Law brings up, is there a need to change the organizational structure in order to build better software?

Out of Conway’s Law has come the term Inverse Conway Maneuver from Jonny Leroy and Matt Simons of ThoughtWorks. The Inverse Conway Maneuver states that you may want to begin by breaking down silos that constrain the team’s ability to collaborate effectively. Another way to think about this is that Conway’s Law is about building dysfunctional software.

A noted problem with Conway’s Law is that it does not provide any diagnostic tools to help management teams determine whether or not their organizations are properly structured, it also fails to identify when a reorganization of a company might make sense. One question it does raise in DevOps, does the current organizational structure lend itself to building a quality product the customer actually desires? Conway’s Law should also encourage organizations to contemplate investigating the scientifically based field of Organizational Development before undertaking any organization change.