Conway’s Law & Remote Teams

Conway’s Law states:

organizations which design systems...are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations.

In my last post, I wrote about how remote work tends to shine a light on areas where a software organization has been taking shortcuts and avoiding good design practices—things that are easier to workaround when everyone is within shouting distance.

If you subscribe to Conway’s Law, then it makes sense that the modularity of software designs would reflect the physical distribution of a software organization. It’s especially important that the work of remote developers can fit together across well-defined interfaces.

How much more important is self-documenting code when ad-hoc explanations are more laborious or time-shifted?

It’s fascinating to think of all the parallels that Conway’s Law implies between software design and a distributed workforce.

Even the trend of microservices