Mushrooms are some of the oldest and compared to us humans - simplest, organisms. What we call a mushroom is actually just a fruit body of a complex underground network of fungal threads called mycelium - that's where all the exciting stuff happens. Not only does mycelium provide the nutrients, but it also serves as a communication network.
How-to Optimize business Process for Communication - lessons from a Mushroom
While yet to be studied in full detail, scientists understand that the network sends various signals which incentivize growth in a particular direction, alerts for danger, and more. The network communicates very efficiently. Scientists were able to make it solve basic labyrinths or even optimize city traffic problems.
Why Human Communication doesn't scale for Business
Humans are not like this.
We don't naturally form networks when building and collaborating; human communication just doesn't scale. People are most comfortable communicating one on one - they can get all verbal and non-verbal signals and form a pretty good understanding between themselves. But when we start introducing more people to the group, the communication efficiency drops incredibly fast. There are multiple studies, both behavioral and historical in nature, on the optimal size of a group. The consensus is that groups larger than 10 people cannot collaborate efficiently.
This is hardly novel, but that's not the point. What possessed me to write these lines is how often we forget or ignore that the drop in communication efficiency happens right after moving away from the one-to-one setup. Time and again, we see projects grow to 10s of people, introduce multiple decision centers, heavy inter-team dependencies and eventually deliver poor products or services.
Why It's Not Enough for Software to Scale - Business Communication Must be Human as Well
The solution is to implement a "no compromise" attitude, putting efficient human-modeled communication practices above all else, reshaping the organization and the product accordingly.
After all, agile doesn't only mean the development team is using delivery sprints - the entire business must be agile.
Conway's law states that an organization's output unwittingly becomes a copy of the communication structure within that organization. In this way, we can apply this rule to our scenario: the structure of a piece of software will mirror the structure of the organization that built it.
You want world-class software - make efficient communication your system optimization factor.