The One with a DDD conference

We went to Berlin last week to go to KanDDDinsky, an annual DDD conference. At the beginning, one of the organisers asked who of the attendees were there for the third time, for all the conferences so far, and I was one of only a handful of people who stood up. That was kind of cool. We went to the first edition as a whole team, Backend Devs, Frontend Dev, Tester, Scrum Master and Product Owner, as kind of a team event. Last year, it was all the backend devs in our team and this year it was 4 devs from 3 different teams and a Scrum Master. And I hope we’ll be there next year as well, with an even more diverse group.

I really like the mix of talks at KanDDDinsky. There are always some more technical talks about things like the Actor Pattern, CQRS and Event Sourcing or Domain Modelling and Functional Programming, as well as talks that go more into the strategic side of DDD like how to find your service boundaries, how to draw a context map or different collaborative modelling techniques, and there is also a lot on culture and agile principles and how architecture and design shape all these things. And there are always tons of book recommendations. Agile Technical Practices Distilled is already waiting for me at the office, I want to get Domain Storytfileelling as well and Daniel Pink’s Drive has already been on my reading list for years, so it gets prioritised now.

Sketchnote for Alberto Brandolini's talk

2 things were a first for me at this conference: I tried sketchnoting during some of the talks and I took my son to the conference. My sketchnotes came out rather nicely, if I dare say so, I have posted them all here and I will continue experimenting with a more visual approach to note taking. Taking my teenage son turned out to be rather easy: I had asked the organisers a few months ago if it was ok if he’d be there as well and they said yes. Since the space was a bit more tight this year, he didn’t enjoy staying at the conference however and just went back to the hotel on his own, grabbing some snacks on the way, to enjoy some undisturbed screen time. We texted back and forth a few times and then met up in the evenings to have dinner together with my coworkers. He’s just such a cool kid, seriously.

I went to two hands-on sessions, and I really liked one of them: it was on iterating on models and we were supposed to model a scheduling tool for maternity nurses in the Netherlands. Such a chaotic domain. We did not iterate that much on our model, but there were other things that stood out for me: We each got a role, for keeping time, logging decisions, logging changes and keeping a glossary and I think this could be a good idea for real modelling sessions as well. When it’s just a small meeting without a dedicated facilitator, every participant could be tasked with specifically keeping in mind a certain meta aspect. I think I want to try this when I’m back at work. And this artificial setting made it a bit easier for me to get out of the modelling situtation from time to time and reflect on how much our team based their decisions on assumptions or simply overruled the domain expert. I wonder if you could also have a role for someone to prevent this.

I’ll write another blog post once the talk recordings are online, to share some of my highlights from the talks as well.