Quote of the week – the org. chart

Don’t ship the org. chart

Steve Sinofsky

Organizations which design systems are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations. (For example, if you have four groups working on a compiler, you’ll get a 4-pass compiler)

Conway’s Law

If you want a product with certain characteristics, you must ensure that the team has those characteristics before the product’s development.

Jim McCarthy and Michele McCarthy – Software for your Head

Remember Sinofsky’s “don’t ship the org chart”? It is a lie. You cannot avoid it. You always ship the org chart. So the real question is, what is the org. going to look like so that we ship something good-looking? That’s the real purpose of Steve’s rant. No matter how much politicking or boosting you do for this important service-oriented architecture, it doesn’t work unless you have a service-oriented org chart. And Google does not, apparently.

Unknown Amazon engineer on Hacker News

There are many more variations on “don’t ship the org. chart”. The quote I find interesting is the one from the anonymous Amazon engineer who takes a different approach – you will ship the org. chart, so make sure that the org. chart is the one you want to ship.

“Steve’s rant” refers to this post by Steve Yegge. I have never been sure how seriously I should take Steve Yegge’s claim that it was posted accidentally, but it’s a great read.

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