Is Conway’s Law Flawed?

Is Conway’s Law Flawed?

What is Conway’s Law

Conway’s Law says “organisations which design systems … are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organisations.” . Also restated by Eric Raymond as “the organisation of the software and the organisation of the software team will be congruent” [1]. To further illustrate Conway’s Law, Conway states, “It is a consequence of the fact that two software modules A and B cannot interface correctly with each other unless the designer and implementer of A communicates with the designer and implementer of B. Thus the interface structure of a software system necessarily will show a congruence with the social structure of the organisation that produced it.” [2]
In many cases this makes sense, so you hear about software development teams aligned to a business unit. In banking, for instance, if the bank trades FX there will be developers working on FX trading apps but in addition there may be developers aligned to Finance who happen to use the rates supplied by the FX team. Consequently there will be an interface between these teams, even if its not direct. In fact teams that are not business aligned or form part of the organisational communicate usually get into trouble as they are not serving the organisations needs.

Is Conway’s rule a Power “Law”