Mirror, mirror, on the wall

Mirror, mirror, on the wall

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.

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Lindsay Holmwood

October 03, 2017
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Transcript

  1. Mirror, mirror, on the wall (abridged) Lindsay Holmwood

  2. What is mirroring?

  3. Two networks

  4. Organisational

  5. Technical

  6. Organisational Technical Mirror

  7. Two separate research traditions

  8. 1. Management Org design & orgs as complex systems

  9. 1. Management Product design & products as complex systems

  10. 2. Computer science Conway’s law

  11. "Organizations which design systems are constrained to produce designs which

    are copies of the communication structures of these organizations." – Melvin Conway
  12. “How Do Committees Invent?” Datamation magazine, April, 1968.

  13. Org design & orgs as complex systems

  14. The architecture of complexity Simon, 1962

  15. Organization design: an information processing view Galbraith, 1974

  16. Product design & products as complex systems

  17. On the Criteria To Be Used in Decomposing Systems into

    Modules D.L. Parnas, 1972
  18. Architectural Innovation: The Reconfiguration of Existing Product Technologies and the

    Failure of Established Firms Henderson & Clark, 1990
  19. Henderson & Clark’s framework for defining innovation Based on Schumpeter,

    1942
  20. “In a complex system, the technical architecture and the division

    of labor will ‘mirror’ one another in the sense that the network structure of one will correspond to the structure of the other.”
  21. Hidden structure: Using network methods to map system architecture Baldwin,

    MacCormack, Rusnak, 2014
  22. https://youtu.be/_gbitnk95a0

  23. How do we apply this?

  24. When you should mirror

  25. When the environment is stable

  26. When you are exploiting
 existing opportunities

  27. When uncertainty is low

  28. When you should not mirror

  29. When the 
 environment is unstable

  30. When you are exploring new opportunities

  31. When you’re 
 working in 
 open source

  32. When uncertainty is high

  33. As uncertainty increases, the amount of information that must be

    processed by decision makers increases
  34. The org can respond by increasing the capacity to process

    information
  35. Creation of lateral relations: Direct contact Liaison roles Task forces

    Teams Integrating roles Managerial linking roles Matrix organisation devops
  36. Henderson & Clark’s framework for defining innovation Based on Schumpeter,

    1942 Mirror Don’t
 mirror
  37. Bibliography • “The mirroring hypothesis: theory, evidence, and exceptions” 


    Colfer, L. and Baldwin, C. (2016) • “Hidden structure: Using network methods to map system architecture” 
 Baldwin, C., MacCormack, A., and Rusnak, J. (2014) • “Architectural Innovation: The Reconfiguration of Existing Product Technologies and the Failure of Established Firms” 
 Henderson, R. and Clark, K. (1990) • “Organization design: an information processing view” 
 Galbraith, J. (1974) • “On the Criteria To Be Used in Decomposing Systems into Modules” 
 Parnas, D.L. (1972) • “The architecture of complexity” 
 Herbert, S. (1962)
  38. Stock photos from Other images http://meekrosoft.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/conway.png http://i.ebayimg.com/thumbs/images/g/JdwAAOSwTf9ZUEaB/s-l225.jpg Fonts Junction from

    League of Movable Type Fanwood from League of Movable Type