DDD Europe 2023 - Program

Collective Architecture - Live RPG Experience

Main Conference - Hands-on Lab


Diana Montalion and Andrew Harmel-Law

Diana MontalionAndrew Harmel-Law
Thursday 8 from 14:30 until 17:00 in Room 8+9

(This is a hands-on lab with limited capacity)

Welcome to Mago! Mago is the most-read magazine and digital product producer in the world. Today is your first day as an architect. Welcome architect! You were hired just in time! As the CEO will tell you, a crisis is looming. You and your teammates will create a recommendation … what do we do next?

Your five teammates are aligned with somewhat-different Points of View. You’ll interact with the Chief Architect, Chief Data Officer, Chief Product Officer, CTO and the very-busy Managing Editor (aka the NPCs). You’ll see some models. You’ll seek advice from NPCs who know how the system works. You’ll think together. You’ll find signal in the noise.

Nobody knows how the game will end.

In this First of It’s Kind RPG workshop, you’ll enjoy the egalitarian experience of “doing architecture” as a collective, cross-functional practice. In daily life, we are surrounded by increasing relational complexity, our need for relationally-smart architect practices is increasing along with it. Regardless of your role, you can work with others to make architectural recommendations and evolve towards architecture as a collective practice.

When done well, this practice delivers domain-aligned, team-decoupling, cohesiveness-driving, constantly-evolving impactful recommendations. Today, we’ll have some fun strengthening our real-world skills:

  • Build an architectural recommendation, as a group
  • Give and receive architectural advice
  • Practice systemic reasoning and deliver a sound recommendation
  • Pivot and adapt as systemic constraints are revealed via feedback
  • Create a new mental model using pieces of the current model
  • Create signal in the midst of noise
  • Have wicked fun doing it, together

We will learn from each other about communication, decision making and the fine art of improvisational systems design.

Note: This workshop is extended, 2.5 hours long with an optional After Party discussion group.

About Diana Montalion

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If you’ve read The Economist, donated to Wikipedia, or contributed to The World Monuments Fund, you’ve interacted with systems that Diana helped to architect.

She has 18+ years experience delivering initiatives, independently or as part of a professional services group, to clients including Stanford, The Gates Foundation and Teach For All. She is co-founder of Mentrix Group, a consultancy providing enterprise systems architecture, technology strategy, team leadership and systems development. She also teaches courses on writing as thinking.

About Andrew Harmel-Law

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A highly enthusiastic Technical Principal; Andrew specialises in Java / JVM technologies, agile delivery, build tools and automation, and domain driven design.

Experienced across the software development lifecycle and in many sectors including government, banking, and eCommerce, what motivates him is the production of large-scale software solutions, fulfilling complex client requirements. He understands that people, tooling, architecture and process all have key roles to play in achieving this.

Andrew has a passion for open source software and its communities. He has been interested in and involved with OSS to a greater or lesser extent since his career began; as a user, contributor, expert group member, or paid advocate.

Finally, Andrew enjoys sharing his experience as much as possible. This sharing is not only seen in his formal consulting engagements, but also informally through mentoring, blog posts, conferences (speaking and organising), and open sourcing his code.