Embracing Conway’s law via Agile transformation & new architectural strategies

By Frédéric Crabbe
Conway’s law states that you cannot design architectures that differ much from the organisation’s communication’s structure. Since a few years, organisations have understood this link between organisational structure and the software they create, and are searching for solutions.
Some organisations are embracing new structures in order to achieve the outcome they want. Organisations in which I worked were pursuing an agile transformation. Instead of delegating tasks to employees, they wanted to create ownership by delegating responsibility (creation of self-organised & self-managed teams). In order to make such stories successful, you first need to have the power the ability to actually perform such a change in way of working. And secondly, you must introduce the appropriate constraints (taking into account the strategic business priority and the necessary governance structures).
The other way around is also possible and organisations are more and more investing in certain technologies like Microservices. Classic monolithic developed applications are no longer sufficient as they become too complex and expensive over time to evolve and changes require progressively longer development time. A microservice approach where functionality is developed and deployed independently (within well-defined boundaries) allows organisations much more flexibility in aligning the architecture of their systems to the structure of their teams in order to ensure that Conway’s law is redeemed.