#5: At scale, your systems will break.


Systems will break past a certain scale; this is inevitable. In the case of software, systems generally survive one order of magnitude of the growth — for example, in network traffic.

This general case has been described as the rule of three and ten. Organisational processes break at the thresholds of three, ten, one hundred, three hundred people and so on.

Software systems are managed through these phase shifts with reimplementation and migration. In general, organisational problems caused by scale can be addressed through process design, organisational design, and culture change — each progressively taking more time to enact change while having more substantial impact.

Related: 5a

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