Conway's Emotional Law

Conway’s Law. The idea that your organizational structure will be mirrored in your design (software) structure. Simple in concept and true to my experience, it’s a principle that drives many an organizational planning session.

Sketchplanations has an overview that I love, embedded below.

There is however, a powerful corollary that I’ve observed. I call it “Conway’s Emotional Law”

Conway’s Emotional Law: How the members of your organization treat each other will be reflected in your designs (software.)

This is absolutely something I’ve observed over and over throughout my career. Does your team value transparency and empathy? Your products will stand out for their “intuitiveness” and “consistent feel.” Conversely if your team is combative, competitive and full of lone wolves? You’ll wonder why your features are technically brilliant but lack adoption. Or perhaps your products sparkle with brilliance but have limited functionality, and you wonder why it takes so long to add a feature. Look not only to how you’ve structured your teams, but to how your teams treat each other.