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Willie Wheeler is a Principal Applications Engineer with Expedia, working on continuous delivery, including build automation, test automation, configuration management and application performance management. He's also the lead author of the book Spring in Practice (Manning). Willie is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 23 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Architecture and Conway’s Law

07.11.2012
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“…organizations which design systems … are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations.”

—Melvin Conway


Conway’s law
is a well-known fact of life in technology organizations. Eric S. Raymond noted that “[i]f you have four groups working on a compiler, you’ll get a 4-pass compiler”. It’s a simple fact that within groups you tend to see better communication, better trust and stronger alignment around goals. Across groups these tend to weaken.

Technologists naturally gravitate toward technical challenges rather than organizational or political ones. But architects, who are responsible for systems design in the large, need not only to be aware of organizational forces impacting their designs, but also to be advocates for organization structures that use Conway’s law to positive effect. It’s important to highlight misalignments between organizational and architectural structures because these make larger business goals difficult or impossible to achieve.

Published at DZone with permission of Willie Wheeler, author and DZone MVB. (source)

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