What is Conway's law and why is it the biggest problem you didn't know you had?
Invisible problem two: Conway's Law
It is not problems that malfunction or break down in clear, visible ways that are the most troubling. It is the problems that don't appear to be problems that can do the most damage.
What is Conway's Law? "Organizations which design systems are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of those organizations". Mel Conway, 1968
Why is this problem worth solving?
Challenges today stem from people and organizational problems not "technology problems. Most often the structure of a system reflects the status and power relationships of the people and organizations involved.
Thus, an organization structure mirrors the internal concerns of the organization rather than those needs of the users. Once organized this way the inertia is hard to break no matter who or what is served by that mode. If experimentation and competition are suppressed to protect vested interest, the system rots from within.
What is referred to as technology in an organization is actually a social technical system and interlinked systems based mixture of people technology and their environments
Embracing new structures and improving the corporate culture, especially communication, prior to the design of the new system can improve that successes much more than devoting more resources to the design and implementation team. The way you improve school culture and communication is to always put internal communications first before ruling out anything new
What scares today is not the ability to find and use apps what's scarce is the insight in how to optimize for your environment. Technology integration in fact is largely a marketing problem not a technology problem you need to be able to convince people to move forward understanding the problems in your ecosystem first and building things that support your marketing activities around the solutions to those problems rather than building tack that you hope you can find a market for is the way to go
Trickle Down Techeconomics- Capacity building with staff rather than admin trying to enforce compliance
Hierarchical authority as it is in schools tend to invoke compliance not foster commitment yet we know there is no substitute for commitment in bringing about deep change no one can force another person to learn at the changes involve fundamental new ways of thinking and acting. Being envious of the success and benefits of tech metooism, many organizations adopt the superficial trappings of technology, but in practice, nothing changes. It’s the same hierarchical organization, compliance vs. commitment focused management failing to grasp the core principles of tech transformation. I T often gets treated as a product not a service where the focus gets placed on boxes and features instead of benefits this product focused attitude is the default mindset for ICT staff as they often sleep eat and breathe technology and quickly forget that teachers do not this results in sub optimize systems that are often designed for the way people IT people assume staff and students are so they should be not the wildly diverse bunch they actually are That IT departments are almost always accountable to a leadership team that doesn't outer understand how to measure the effectiveness of its work too any reliable degree also contributes to the sub optimization The interdependence on IT is now too large to be handled by nonspecialist leadership making pronouncements from mountaintops
How do you solve it? How can you make the invisible, visible? (My Contributions)
No system can be better organized than the team/person that creates it so examining how and why the sausage is made the way it is- irregardless of pushback- is step #1.
Must make a commitment to providing service and communication systems that boost the community’s sense of competence
You inspire staff to try new tools and procedures by making their existing systems work first. Repair is more important than innovation.
Data and systems architecting and design for well defined production processes.
How do I know this approach works?
The art of communication is the language of leadership. The biggest step you can take to make your digital program successful is to make sure your communication infastructure is setup to enhance people's sense of competence and is robust enough to help you shift everyone's belief of what is possible by connecting them with the right resources and removing core bottlenecks and reducing operational complexity.
"Trickle down Techenomics" and "cargo culting" the trappings of a technology program do not work. Enforcing compliance from the top down will never match capacity building from the bottom up. System structures need to be setup so they drive quality.
Embracing new structures and improving the corporate culture, especially communication, prior to the design of the new system can improve that successes much more than devoting more resources to the design and implementation team. The way you improve school culture and communication is to always put internal communications first before rolling out anything new
it wasn't just a better site: It solved serious pain points: Terrible structure, terrible information, terrible UX, terrible browsing via mobile, terrible gatekeeper, terrible lack of upkeep, terrible lack of responsibility.
- Click here to receive the first section of the free white paper: Leading Technology Change.
- Click here to contact Matt Brady for a free online consultation about your school or organization
- Connect on linked in or twitter - Read more...