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Strategic Design using DDD - Mile High Agile Conference 2011

8. April 2011
Mile High Agile 2011I've uploaded the slides from yesterday's presentation at the Mile High Agile Conference here in Denver to SlideShare, and included them below.

I wanted to say how impressed I was with the conference. Around 500 attendees, 4 tracks and an open space! This was a lot for the organizing committee to bite off, but the conference exceeded everyone's expectations.

It was great to be a presenter, and also Sponsor the event through The Agile Cooperative and be able to give away a prize. I was proud to be part of the event, and thank those who attended my session at the end of the day and gave me such great feedback.

Strategic Design - Meh?

One interesting question I was asked is why isn't strategic design a more popular conference and agile community topic?

I don't know. In terms of the actual session itself, I felt that it was well-attended, and that everyone was very engaged through the presentation. In terms of the mechanics of the talk, next time I won't need to rely on my notes like I did yesterday. For the timeslot, I was also up against Bob Hartman and other popular presenters.

As to the broader question of lack of focus on strategic design in the agile community, I think that is a topic for another blog post. Stay tuned - there were a number of great questions during and after the session, and I will respond to them all via blog posts in the coming weeks.

Improving my Presentation Title - Free Prize!

Another reason - I think - is the pedestrian title for the presentation. Perhaps I need to spice it up a little.

Here are some tongue-in-check (or not) suggestions, feel free to propose others:

  • How agile development killed design
  • Scrum is the worst thing that every happened to strategic software design
  • Agile design - how did we get so far off track?
  • Why is agile design rarely strategic?
  • Strategy and Design - finding a line of sight
  • Aligning strategy and agile design
  • ...?
What do YOU think I should call future iterations of the talk? I'll send a free copy of Eric's DDD book to the best suggestion.
View more presentations from Paul Rayner.

Comments (5) -

4/8/2011 7:17:41 PM #
I can never come up with catchy titles for presos (or articles) either. I'm thinking I should use "Come To This Presentation And Get A Chance to Win an iPad!"
4/8/2011 9:50:59 PM #
Thanks for getting the slides up so quick. Definitely planning on making use of the Purpose Alignment Model -- that was new and interesting for me.

I think one reason perhaps that strategic design isn't more popular in the agile world is that it reeks of enterprise architecture and those folks that spend months producing UML documents and little else of actual value. In a community broadly aligned with the notion of working software as a primary indicator of progress and frequently encouraged to go with "emergent design" anything that smells contrary to that is going to be treated with some skepticism.

Additionally, it seemed (to me at least) that the whole "story" you were telling of what/why/how for strategic DDD was not trivial. It took some time for things to unfold and for me to "get" where you were going. Not rocket science, but it's definitely not something with a lot of currency in people's minds.

Finally, my thoughts on a spicier talk title. I'll avoid using the word pukka ;) Given the popularity of the "emergent design" idea, how about leveraging that, e.g. "Emergent design vs. Domain Driven Design" (perhaps a bit dull and not perfectly in line with the existing presentation but *everyone's* heard of emergent design). Or, if you want something punchier, "Death to Emergent Design: Why agile needs Strategic DDD."
4/9/2011 12:05:23 AM #
@Lisa - Ah, the old "free beer"-style strategy. I agree with you, it's not easy. Glad I'm not the only one that struggles in that area.

@Jon - Glad that the ideas were helpful. I agree that there is a lot of skepticism around strategic design. I am a big proponent of emergent design. In fact, I wrote an article on DDD and emergent architecture for The Architecture Journal last year (see the previous blog post).

From what I have seen, many agile teams lack the technical chops in TDD, design and refactoring to pull emergent design off well. And even the ones that do it well don't necessarily have strategic concerns in mind.

Somehow I need to get better at making it clear how strategy and emergence play together and need each other. Along those lines, I like your second title suggestion - I think you might be on to something there!
Charles
Charles
4/9/2011 2:38:07 AM #

Presentation title suggestions:
Strategic Design in an Agile World
Agile: The Death of Design?
Agile Design Done Right
Agile and Design:  Friend or Foe?
Agile Design: The Tactical and Practical

Paul, some of the answer to the popularity of Agile Design may have to do with the fact that it might be hard to find people who are both super passionate about Agile "Process" AND super passionate about Technical design.

In terms of your specific presentation, I had trouble following what you were saying.

You said:
> I felt that it was well-attended
but then you say
> Another reason - I think - is the pedestrian title for the presentation.

So, do you feel it was well attended but still not as popular as some think it might be?

One more note on the title: Mentioning "Agile", or some Agile associated word, in the title of an "Agile" conference session would probably help as well.

Thanks so much for going to the trouble to speak at conferences.  Many of us in the biz don't say that enough.

I wish you well.
4/13/2011 6:30:14 AM #
@Charles - I really like the title suggestions you proposed, particularly "Strategic Design in an Agile World." Email me your contact details and I'll send you the free copy of the DDD book (as mentioned in the post).

With regards to clarifying my question, a number of people at the end of the session commented that they wished strategic design was a more popular topic, so I was responding to that (obviously not as clearly as I had hoped).

Thanks again for the great feedback, I really appreciate it, and know that it will help me focus future iterations of the presentation.
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