October 27, 2021 – Chicago
In its 11th year, the bi-annual report from global technology consultancy Thoughtworks also spotlights the sluggishness within platforms
Thoughtworks (Nasdaq: TWKS), a global technology consultancy that integrates strategy, design and engineering to drive digital innovation, today released Volume 25 of the Technology Radar, a bi-annual report informed by Thoughtworks’ observations, conversations and frontline experience solving its clients’ toughest business challenges. While Conway’s Law will celebrate its 55th anniversary next year, one of the major themes of the report is how it’s just as relevant in today’s digital era.
Created by Melvin Conway, this law asserts that how IT organizations are structured will have a strong impact on any systems they create. By following Conway’s Law, organizations embarking on their digital transformation journeys should re-organize their engineering teams, including culture, reporting-structure and incentive programs, in alignment with how they want to evolve their architecture and technology strategy. Yet, many do not and are surprised by the less than stellar productivity gains.
“For all the progress we’ve made in driving adoption of agile and microservices, which are solid examples of how organizations have improved the autonomy of teams to increase the pace of change, it amazes me how some organizations continue to try to circumvent Conway’s Law,” said Dr. Rebecca Parsons, chief technology officer at Thoughtworks. “Organizations are far better served leveraging Conway’s Law as a positive force by paying attention to the people who build the software and creating a product-centric operating model and engineering culture.”
Highlighted themes included in Technology Radar Vol. 25 include:
- The slippery slope of convenience: Software tends toward complexity when left to its own devices. As software systems become more complex, development teams must show diligence to both create and maintain thoughtful architecture and design.
- Clever tech we shouldn’t need: Many in the software world prize clever solutions to complex problems, yet often those clever solutions result from self-inflicted accidental complexity. Rather than jump to more technology to solve a problem, teams should do root cause analysis, address the underlying essential complexity and course correct.
- Adapting Kafka: Kafka continues toward status as a de facto standard for asynchronous publish/subscribe messaging at volume. In this edition of the Radar we discussed a number of topics where teams are employing tools to adapt to/from Kafka.
- Fewer technology platforms on the Radar: We found a serious drop in the number of platform-related blips in this edition of the Radar, which we attribute to the increased consolidation on some industry standards. Does this mean that platforms no longer matter?
- Conway’s is still the law: Many architects cite Conway’s Law to justify changes to team organization, and we discovered across several nominated blips in this edition that an organization’s team structure remains a key enabler when handled well and a serious impediment when handled poorly.