schedule Dec 6th 10:10 AM - 10:40 AM place The Loft

You’re probably familiar with Conway’s Law, that “organizations which design systems ... are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations." But did you know that there’s a tradition in academia spanning as far back as the 1960’s that has studied it in action?

Our understanding began in the traditions of organisational design, product design, and organisations-as-complex-systems. Conway’s Law is a separate tradition in technology, embracing our idioms and ways of storytelling.

But all three traditions point back to the same underlying concepts.

Conway’s Law has been studied across auto, aviation, software, banking, and healthcare. Each study has revealed how humans organise to build systems, and how those systems influence how we organise ourselves.

The results are not what you’d expect.

 
2 favorite thumb_down thumb_up 0 comments visibility_off  Remove from Watchlist visibility  Add to Watchlist
 

Outline/structure of the Session

  • What is mirroring?
  • Why do we mirror?
  • How we know mirroring: Conway's Law
  • How academia knows mirroring: organisation design, product design, and complex systems
  • Highlights of organisation design research of the last 60 years
    • "The architecture of complexity" Simon, 1962
    • "Organization design: an information processing view" Galbraith, 1974
  • Highlights of product design research of the last 60 years
    • "On the Criteria To Be Used in Decomposing Systems into Modules" D.L. Parnas, 1972
    • "Architectural Innovation: The Reconfiguration of Existing Product Technologies and the Failure of Established Firms" Henderson & Clark, 1990
  • Common threads
  • What the research tells us
  • What are the drawbacks of mirroring?
  • How open source breaks the mirror (maybe, depending on time)
  • How do we apply this?

Learning Outcome

Participants will understand:

  • The mirroring hypothesis
  • What the history of mirroring tells us

Participants will learn and be able to apply:

  • Several models for understanding how communication works across organisational units
  • Insights from research about strict mirroring vs breaking the mirror, and when to apply different strategies
  • Strategies for organising people around products through the evolution, growth, and maturing of the product

Target Audience

Engineering management, and people responsible for organisational design

schedule Submitted 3 weeks ago

Comments Subscribe to Comments

comment Comment on this Proposal

  • Liked Chris Harwood
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Chris Harwood - Humans have interfaces too

    30 Mins
    Talk
    Executive

    As technology leaders, we spend endless hours on solution design reviews, costing, project management & vendor contracts... yet we rarely spend enough time on the thing that has the biggest multiplier impact: your people architecture. This session will be a worked example of how restructuring an organisation to address a significant Theory of Constraints issue achieved results beyond what was expected, and used architecture concepts to get the technology teams on board and help improve autonomy and engagement.

  • Liked Luke Stubbles
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Luke Stubbles / Brett Porter - Beyond ping-pong and catered lunches

    30 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    At SafetyCulture, our culture is foundational to everything we do.

    Our engineering team has doubled to 60 in the space of 6 months and continues to grow. Not having a good handle on our culture we’re trying to build or preserve would be like driving a formula one car blindfolded and without a steering wheel. We'd crash and burn.

    This talk moves beyond ping-pong tables and catered lunches to get to the core of what makes up a healthy engineering culture, where everyone gets out of bed each day to be a part of something they find meaningful, and accomplish big things as part of a team.

    In the talk, we’ll cover what ingredients are essential to a healthy culture, and what that means to the team. Culture doesn’t stand still, so we’ll also cover how to maintain what’s important as the team grows or changes, and how to keep it fresh over the course of time.