Monday 3-2-1 – Conway's law, trunk-based dev examples, middle managers 💡
Hey, Luca here 👋 welcome to the Monday 3-2-1 ✨
Every Monday I will send you an email like this with 3 short ideas about:
🎽 Engineering Management
🔨 Technical Strategy
🎒 Hiring & Onboarding
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1) 🎽 Conway’s Law
Consider Conway’s Law on organizational design:
Any organization that designs a system will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization's communication structure.
This rule bears non-trivial consequences. Most notably, that changing your system architecture most often requires changing your communication structure as well — and vice versa.
For example, it is hard to organize your team into small, independent units, while retaining a monolithic structure for your software. People will likely step on each other’s toes.
Likewise, you won’t probably get the full benefits of microservices as long as your team stays a single large unit. The overhead brought on by orchestration and observability issues might not be worth it if you don’t get the upside of working in small, autonomous teams.
2) 🔨 Trunk-based dev in the wild
In the past few weeks I wrote often about trunk-based development. Some readers pointed me to examples of real world teams and leaders talking about their experience with it.
Here are some links if you want to learn more 👇
Trunk-based dev at Walmart — all changes go to master daily
Trunk-based dev at Microsoft — from the Build conference
Trunk-based dev at Google — with a monorepo, too!
Trunk-based dev at Amazon — “we rarely create branches”
3) 🎒 Middle managers matter
Prof. Ethan Mollick collected a great set of stats about how good middle managers impact company outcomes.
Startups who hire middle managers are 33% more likely to develop product innovations
Taking a manager who is at the bottom 10% of working with people & replacing them with a top 10% one drops costs 5% just by lowering turnover.
In a car factory, replacing a bottom quartile manager with a top quartile one decreases the hours needed to build a car by 30%.
Quality among managers in the game industry accounted for 22% of variation in overall revenues — more than any other role.
Full thread and sources below 👇
And that’s it for today — I wish you a great week! 🚀 If you liked the article, consider doing any of these:
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