Conway's law and VPEC-T

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Christopher Bird

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Feb 1, 2009, 8:56:26 AM2/1/09
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For several years I have been using 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.", Datamation 1968 and named by Fred Brooks later.) as a way to explain organizational/system dynamics. How if the communication structure of the organization doesn't change then systems that don't reflect that communication structure are doomed.

This looks to me to impinge quite nicely on VPEC-T in one very significant way.

Communication in this sense has influence on trust. Choosing a communication style can depend on how much trust there is in the organization. So serious command and control is often indicative of low trust - the superiors don't trust the inferiors to do things right so they will need to be in every decision. Orders come down from the top..... Trying to put an autonomous, event based, loosely coupled system into such a culture is a bit tricky. I am sure we have all tried that and failed at one time or another.

Compare/contrast with the naive kinds of systems where every party thinks it trusts every other. What I would thing as the hippie way of getting nothing done. I know this because I was one in the 60s. So great autonomy, misplaced trust and great opportunity for abuse.

These are obviously extremes, but as is often the case we look at the edges to determine the space and then work between them. Using these boundaries can perhaps be a way of teasing out the T part of a VPEC-T analysis without it being overtly threatening.

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Feb 1, 2009, 9:22:30 AM2/1/09
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nigelp...@googlemail.com

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Feb 1, 2009, 9:46:02 AM2/1/09
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and another on the CG CTO blog....

"There’s a developing consensus emerging from the blogosphere and
other group discussions (such as the recent MashUp* Enterprise 2.0
Event). It’s a shared conviction that a new approach to ‘Enterprise’
IT is needed; a new approach that embraces Web 2.0 thinking, and at
the same time, helps make traditional implementations of IT more
useful and better adopted. This approach is rooted in pragmatics,
simplification and iterative experimentation. Perhaps surprisingly,
this new thinking is being led by mature and experienced Enterprise
Architects and Systems Thinkers worldwide"....

http://www.capgemini.com/ctoblog/2008/09/two_phrases_you_wouldnt_expect.php
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