Feb 15

Conway's Law and Government Services

Just finished reading Building Microservices by Sam Newman which describes how to build small, single-purpose online applications that can be combined into larger, more-complex software. The idea behind microservices is to break apart monolithic applications in favor of building more agile and robust applications through small, loosely-coupled components.

Mr. Newman describes the philosophical rationale for microservices by discussing Conway's Law.

"Any organization that designs a system will inevitably produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization's communication structure."

This chapter led me to think about how the government agency's communication structure affects the design of government services. Especially in how the government service is communicated to clients and among the street-level bureaucrats who implement the services. I did a quick search and I didn't find any research on applying Conway's Law to government organizations. This appears to be a fruitful area for research.