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Sustaining Fast Flow with Socio-Technical Thinking

Due to unforseen circumstances, the presenter will no longer be available for the Q&A. 

It's easy to achieve fast flow at the start of a new project, especially with a fresh new codebase. But why does flow always seem to get slower and slower over time? Business stakeholders are asking for two new text boxes to be added to a web page, and they are gobsmacked when the developers say it will take 3 months.

On the contrary, high-performing teams are able to sustain fast flow for years, delivering new product enhancements to production multiple times per-day. A combination of factors including architecture, domain ownership, and manageable cognitive load is key, creating the conditions for purpose, autonomy, and mastery which incentivise and facilitate sustainable flow.

This talk will share principles and practices from the fields of Domain-Driven Design and Team Topologies that leaders can apply to address the social and technical aspects necessary for creating the conditions for high-performing teams and sustainable flow throughout their organisation.

Main Takeaways

1 Hear about practices to maintain a good flow of application development.

2 Learn about avoiding shortcuts, incentivizing developers, organizing teams, architectural aspects needed, and others.

What is the focus of your work these days?

My work tends to vary quite a bit. My job title is Consultant and normally I work with CTOs, VP of Engineering. Because I've had engineering leadership roles myself, I get involved in different aspects of the job, so sometimes it's about mapping out the landscape, mapping out business processes with techniques like event storming, getting a group of people together to map out business processes either remotely or in person. And then also looking at how teams are organized, how software is architected. The goal is improving how the organization works in general.

Would you say that would be the motivation for your talk? Or was there anything else you'd like to say about the motivation behind your talk?

Yeah. That's the motivation for my talk, really. I want to share what I see across different companies. I think the gap is quite big between companies that are working quite effectively and companies who are looking for improvements or who are a bit behind the curve. Looking at the accelerate metrics, there are some companies deploying multiple times per day, and there are some companies deploying once a month or once every two months, for example. That's a disparity I see. I try to help to promote practices that can close that gap.

And how would you describe the persona and level of the target audience of your session?

I think when I've been designing the talk, I've been thinking about a CTO or VP of Engineering, probably someone who is looking at companies who are performing well and thinking, you know, I want to get my company to that stage. That's the kind of person I'm focusing on. Those are the companies I work with the most, who've got aspirations to be high performing.

What would you like this persona to walk away with after seeing your presentation?

There are a few things I want to focus on in the talk. If I were to summarize things, I would say, not looking for the quick fix, but looking to do what's necessary to improve how quickly work flows in the organization. And also, I want to emphasize sustainability. It's easy in a lot of companies to build things quickly when you're starting with a new product on a blank canvas or a fresh code base. Over time, that tends to slow down very quickly. So I want to get across the ideas to help sustain that flow indefinitely, and it is possible from observing good companies. So there's a few different areas I want to address. I want to talk about incentives, if you want to sustain fast flow, it's important that the engineers are incentivized to create software systems that can be easily evolved over time. Every time you take a shortcut, you pay for that in the long term because the code gets harder and harder to change. I also want to focus on the architectural aspects, how to organize teams and software, how that evolves over time. I talk about concrete practices like event storming that teams can use to improve their architecture.


Nick Tune

Principal Consultant and Author

Nick works with technology leaders to map out business and technology landscapes, architect systems for competitive advantage, and build high-performing continuous delivery teams. Domain-Driven Design and Team Topologies are the core tools in his enterprise design toolkit. Nick is the author of...

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Wednesday May 11 / 09:00AM EDT (50 minutes)


Optimising for Speed & Flow


Team CollaborationDomain-Driven DesignHigh Performing TeamsLeadershipAgile

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