Recomposition: Coordinating a Web of Software Dependencies
In this paper, I revisit theconcept of recomposition – all the work thatdevelopment organizations do to make sure thattheir product fits together and into a broaderenvironment of other technologies. Technologies, such as Configuration Management(CM) systems, can ameliorate some of a softwaredevelopment team's need to engage inrecomposition. However, technologicalsolutions do not scale to address other kindsof recomposition needs. This paper focuses onvarious organizational responses to the needfor recomposition. By organizational response,I mean how individuals engage in recompositionso that the organization can assemble softwaresystems from parts. Specifically, I describehow those responses are manifested in theday-to-day communications and responsibilitiesof individuals throughout the organization. Ialso highlight how changes in an organizationcomplicate recomposition. The paper concludeswith a discussion of three features of softwaredevelopment work that are revealed byrecomposition: the affects of environmentaldisturbances on development work, the types ofdependencies that require recomposition, andthe images of organizations required to managethe recomposition.