Conway's Law

What is Conway's Law?
Conway's Law is an aphorism in IT that posits the idea that 'organizations that design systems are forced to produce designs that are copies of those organizations' communication structures'. This idea can be traced back to a programmer named Melvin Conway who developed this principle in the late 1960s.

Another way to explain Conway's Law is to have the teams working on a software develop their own trademarks in relation to its design. A common example is the example of a software compiler. One of the most frequently quoted statements about Conway's Law is that 'if you work four groups on one compiler, you 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 the compiler goes back over part of the source code. The idea is that if there are multiple groups working on the compiler, each will create their own unique pass that is different from the other.

Rather than pooling all of their resources to develop a monolithic code structure, individuals or corporate groups will contribute their own code modules that are clearly unique. Some of the implications of Conway's Law are that people always shape their contributions to a software project in a unique way, and that people may not be able to work together in a monolithic manner to write source code.

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