Conway's Law


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Conway's Law

(project, humour)
The rule that the organisation of the software and the organisation of the software team will be congruent; originally stated as "If you have four groups working on a compiler, you'll get a 4-pass compiler".

Melvin Conway, an early proto-hacker, wrote an assembler for the Burroughs 220 called SAVE. The name "SAVE" didn't stand for anything; it was just that you lost fewer card decks and listings because they all had SAVE written on them.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The public rift is reminiscent of Conway's law organisations which design systems are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organisations.
In fact, Conway's law suggests that because organizations will tend to produce systems that reflect their own organization's designs, the interfaces that work best between the sponsor and contracted organizations will be the ones which reflect homogeneity between the two or more partners' social structures in their respective organizations.
In too many cases these folks have not communicated with each other, resulting in system glitches that illustrate Conway's Law: The organization of a system directly reflects the organization of the group of people developing the system.