It seems to be a generally acknowledged truth (often bolstered by Reverse Conway’s Law) that decisions regarding the software systems you build should take your team size into consideration. That often leads to the belief that there is a fitting system architecture for small, medium-sized and big teams. That’s wrong.
As a software developer, I’m used to the concept of vertical slices. They allow to be able to deliver value earlier, to iterate faster, or to create a proof-of-concept for evaluation/presentation. In software vertical slices are superior to horizontal ones (feel free to prove me wrong in the comments).
In other industries, this is not necessarily the case. Imagine pouring the foundation for a living room first, then building its walls, electricity etc. After everything is done you’d do the same for the kitchen. This would not only be ridiculously expensive, but also dangerous during earthquakes.
Despite building foundations though, there must be cases where the vertical slices make sense for non-digital industries, right? And with “make sense”, I mean
- valuable for customers
- valuable enough so that they’d actually be willing to pay extra for it*
* because these small slices create overhead and therefore may be costly
Let’s look at some fun thought experiments. The following examples are from industries I have honestly no clue about, so feel free to correct me in the comments: