My third corollary to Conway’s Law: The quality of an organization’s output is inversely proportional to the extent to which its actual structure corresponds to its org chart.
I’d like to share with you a section from the famous book on software creation (and creation generally): The Mythical Man Month, by Fredrick Brooks. Why? This particular section is a proud example of our habit, as a species, of letting our tools dampen and simplify our thinking, rather than taking the time to build tools that are ideisomorphic—that is, sensitive enough to represent human thought—or even to build tools that actually expand the compass of cognition.
Another corollary to Conway’s Law: Most organizations are hierarchical, meaning that most software will be hierarchical, no matter how inappropriate for the task and/or user.
“Indeed, one of the ways of establishing conceptual control over such structure [software plans as richly connected network graphs] is to enforce link cutting until one or more of the graphs becomes hierarchical.”—Frederick P. Brooks Jr.
Brooks, usually profound, of course misses that you can have coherence without hierarchy, and that to cut a link is to destroy information.
If you ever find yourself uncritically believing attacks against your enemies, take one of your heroes from the past and read what people said and believed about them.
My corollary to Conway’s Law: Designs and communication structures will cycle endlessly until the communication structure changes (deliberately or accidentally). Twitter
Often, fights seem to happen because when one person brings up a grievance, the other is tempted to counter with another grievance (defensively or because they have no other opportunity), thus escalation; the solution, perhaps: regularly air grievances, never do so as a reaction.
“Thus, although the saint puts himself last, finds himself in the lead.
Although he is not self-concerned, finds himself accomplished.
It is because he is not focused on self-interests and hence can fulfill his true nature.” —Tao Te Ching
Ted Nelson once quipped, “Can you believe that some people spend more money on their cars than their computers?” 2019 US average new car price: $38k; computer: $650. There are caveats, but this strikes me as astonishingly low relative spending on brain-augmentation.
Being on the right side of history means holding on to something long enough that it becomes old, a little boring or, figuratively, history, at least long enough for the tide of fashion to have gone out and tested whether you can stand unassisted.