Laws of organizations and projects
These are short restatements of some famous and not-so-famous adages and heuristics.
- Conway’s law. Product structure reflects the producers’ communication structure.
- Gall’s law. A viable complex system isn’t designed from scratch; it evolves from a viable simple system.
- Goodhart’s law. “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” (Marilyn Strathern.)
- Iron law of oligarchy, the. Every organization develops a ruling elite. (Example: “Ex-Valve employee describes ruthless internal politics at ‘self-organizing’ companies”.)
- Keith’s law: “In a complex system, the cumulative effect of a large number of small optimizations is externally indistinguishable from a radical leap.” (Venkatesh Rao.)
- Pournelle’s iron law of bureaucracy. Bureaucratic organizations become controlled by people working in the interest of the bureaucracy itself.
- Shirky principle, the. “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.” (Kevin Kelly.)