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A Journey Toward Better Workshops and Analysis

This post is serving two purposes today. The first is to thank all the experts who reached out to me on Twitter to help point me toward some important tools, research, and talks related to my request for help. A few days ago I reached out to the twitter community with a request:

I received a flood of great advice and resources that I’ll go through in this post.

My second purpose for this post is to announce that I’m working on some of my own workshops. Workshops were one of the few meeting types I enjoyed while working at a consulting firm. Done correctly, they’re a wonderful way to work collaboratively with clients and partners. I was fortunate enough to attend and participate in many successful workshops. I also had the opportunity to run and create workshops.

The firm did have their own in-house developed approaches. Many of these were either based on Microsoft’s recommended technical workshops, like the Cloud Adoption Framework, or Human Centered Design approaches.

There’s nothing wrong with these workshops, but I always struggled with connecting the workshops directly with the client’s needs. If you know me, I’m never happy going along with something that doesn’t feel like it’s quite the right fit.

I’ve been on a type of journey, where I’m taking many of the things I’ve learned from Eric Evan’s Domain-Driven Design, from the burgeoning Sociotechnical Systems Theory, and a handful of other disciplines to create something that’s uniquely mine. My approach won’t be too far off from what’s regularly practiced in DDD modeling sessions, but I am using what I learn from these other disciplines to inform my own.

My goal isn’t to recreate the wheel. I see these as a handful of tools that help with a continuing conversation. The conversation explores ideas about systems design, operations, development, workplace improvement, processes that create results. I want to help clients go from desired outcomes to working systems. The best way I’ve discovered to do this is through directed conversations. I believe, great, collaborative conversations and workshops help achieve that goal.


If you’re interested in this same type of journey, I’ll share the resources that were shared with me on Twitter.

Here’s the video mentioned in my Tweet:

Ruth Malan has a small mountain of information I’ll need to work through. I can’t wait. You can find Ruth’s work here:

Eduardo da Silva provided additional information on his works, as well.

For Eduardo’s consulting services on these topics, you can find more information on his webpage here:

Additionally, Krisztina left some excellent links to Domain-Driven Design resources. DDD is one of the disciplines that has continued to grow. For its age, it’s really held up, and it provide a great set of tools for building common understanding about systems from those who build the systems and those who derive value from those systems.

Eduardo also introduced me to the work of Trond Hjorteland. Trond and I apparently have the same appreciation for post-punk/gothic rock and we share a birthday – I mean, the exact birthday, which is always a little weird.

To close things out:

I have read the Team Topologies book and I love it. Thoughts and concepts from this book will definitely find a place in my processes. From what I can see, DDD modeling has already pointed out where it fits nicely when exploring Bounded Context. I’ve pre-ordered Susanne Kaiser’s book Adaptive Systems With Domain-Driven Design, Wardley Mapping, and Team Topologies: Architecture for Flow (Addison-Wesley Signature Vernon). I can’t wait to read it.

Here’s a clip where Susanne discusses the subject of her book:

More to come…

There’s a lot more to this collection of disciplines. I didn’t even touch on Gene Kim, DevOps, Dr. Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints, and so much more.

However, much of what I’m seeing here is that my love for DDD isn’t misplaced. It’s a great foundation to continue to build from. So I’ll likely reread my big blue book soon, follow up on all this material, and find better ways to delivery amazing systems to generate value for their users.