DDD Europe 2023 - Program

The socio-technical dilemma: Fleshing out tradeoffs with a diverse set of concerns and stakeholders

Main Conference - Hands-on Lab


Kate Chapman and Moriel Schottlender

Kate ChapmanMoriel Schottlender
Friday 9 from 14:30 until 16:30 in Room 5

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

The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization that runs the technical systems behind Wikipedia. Wikipedia has been an open source software for 20+ years, and as a result, it’s relying on a monolith that is extremely hard to adjust and move, and involves a lot of contributors. Because decisions involve such a large set of stakeholders and a sense of danger to the integrity of the monolith, decisions about change are perceived as extremely expensive. It becomes very important to outline and highlight the tradeoffs between options before crosscutting decisions are made.

The Wikimedia Architecture Team has developed a process to collaboratively discover and weigh the tradeoffs that are involved in socio-technical changes. The process helps engineers and teams collect the concerns, tradeoffs, effort requirements and general change needed without falling into the endless pit of solutioning.These are then put into a format that allows discussion and finding agreements towards paths that were non-obvious before.

This workshop will walk you through the process so you can use it in your own work.

The components of the workshop are as follows: -How to agree on a problem statement -How to flesh out viable options -Raising additional ambitious options that may have been dismissed due to fear or perceived cost and fleshing out whether they are viable -How to discover the tradeoffs -How to describe the practical needs and cost behind options collaboratively -Presenting the result for executive buy-in for systemic change


This is suitable for attendees of all backgrounds and skill levels.

About Kate Chapman


Kate Chapman is a technologist, geographer and farmer. Currently she is leading the Engineering Enablement Group at the Wikimedia Foundation. Kate is passionate about collaborating on systems level changes within Wikimedia enabling better knowledge sharing across the world. Kate also serves as the President of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team where she is a passionate supporter of open mapping for more resilient communities.

Previously Kate served as the Chief Technology Officer of the Cadasta Foundation and was Executive Director of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. A long time advocate and participant in the free culture movement she believes it is important to put people first. When not thinking about virtual systems she is at home thinking about physical systems on her miniature dairy goat farm.

About Moriel Schottlender

Twitter Blog

Moriel is a physicist turned software engineer turned systems architect, currently working on modernizing Wikipedia’s architecture. She’s an Open Source enthusiast, right-to-left language support and localization evangelist, and a general domain hoarder.