[WEBINAR] Bulletproof: How Today's Business Leaders Stay on Top

Conway's Law

Definition - What does Conway's Law mean?

Conway's law is an aphorism in IT that posits the idea that “organizations which design systems are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations.” This idea can be traced back to a programmer named Melvin Conway who developed this principle in the late 1960s.

Techopedia explains Conway's Law

Another way to explain Conway's law is that the teams of people that work on a piece of software will make their own marks on its eventual design. One common example used is the example of a software compiler. One of the most frequently cited statements around Conway's law states that “if you have four groups working on a compiler, you’ll get a four-pass compiler.” A software compiler can be either a one-pass compiler or a multi-pass compiler. The number of “passes” is the number of times that the compiler goes back over a piece of source code. The idea is that if there are multiple groups working on the compiler, each one will construct their own unique pass that will be different than any of the others.

Rather than pooling all of their resources to come up with one monolithic code structure, individuals or groups of firms will contribute their own code modules which are distinctly unique. Some of the implications of Conway's law are that people always put their own unique stamp on their contributions to a software project, and that humans may be inherently unable to work together in a monolithic way to write source code.

Share this:

Connect with us

Email Newsletter

Join thousands of others with our weekly newsletter

The 4th Era of IT Infrastructure: Superconverged Systems
The 4th Era of IT Infrastructure: Superconverged Systems:
Learn the benefits and limitations of the 3 generations of IT infrastructure – siloed, converged and hyperconverged – and discover how the 4th...
Approaches and Benefits of Network Virtualization
Approaches and Benefits of Network Virtualization:
Businesses today aspire to achieve a software-defined datacenter (SDDC) to enhance business agility and reduce operational complexity. However, the...
Free E-Book: Public Cloud Guide
Free E-Book: Public Cloud Guide:
This white paper is for leaders of Operations, Engineering, or Infrastructure teams who are creating or executing an IT roadmap.
Free Tool: Virtual Health Monitor
Free Tool: Virtual Health Monitor:
Virtual Health Monitor is a free virtualization monitoring and reporting tool for VMware, Hyper-V, RHEV, and XenServer environments.
Free 30 Day Trial – Turbonomic
Free 30 Day Trial – Turbonomic:
Turbonomic delivers an autonomic platform where virtual and cloud environments self-manage in real-time to assure application performance.