The origins of Conways Laws (plus – “Why Waterfall was a big misunderstanding from the beginning”)


Linked by from this thread:


In response to ‘why waterfall was a big misunderstanding’ (side note: I love the way most things – from command-and-control to waterfall – aren’t what we think they are!), Mel Conway posted the original paper behind Conway’s Law (

(I also love the fact that he is conways_law on twitter because an Irish lawfirm already got conwayslaw :-))



I was in a US Air Force selection in 1963 that was waterfall. The procedure was mandated by the lawyers, to block conflict of interest. Design contractors could not bid on implementation. The lawyers didn’t imagine coupling between design & implementation


The real original


Also Fred Brooks (p13-15):