What is Conway's Law and why do you need to break it?
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?
In my experience, the greatest challenges Ed Tech leaders face today stem more from people and organizational problems than "technology problems".
Conway's law tells us that most often the structure of a system reflects the status and power relationships of the people and organizations involved. Thus, an organization's structure mirrors the internal concerns of the organization rather than the needs of the users. Once organized this way, the inertia is hard to break no matter who or what is served by this mode.
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 culture, especially communication to create that culture, prior to the design/release of a new system ensures success more than devoting more resources to the design and implementation team.
The way you improve school culture is to put internal communications first before rolling out anything new.
What is scarce 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 is in fact 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
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.
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
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