Conway’s Law + Wiio’s Laws = Software!

Conway’s Law:

Any organization that designs a system (defined broadly) will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization’s communication structure.


I think there is a lot of merit in the idea that a designed system, like a software application, will naturally reflect the communication patterns within the organization that created it. And a software system that has been under development for years becomes a historical record of the communication patterns and structural interactions (good or bad) of the organization through time.

Combining Conway’s Law with Wiio’s Laws of Communication “human communication usually fails except by accident” leads to some interesting questions about system development.


Here is the original 1968 paper by Melvin Conway from which the thesis was taken:

It’s long but very interesting.

And here is the Wikipedia article citing additional research on the topic:

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