SPA Conference session: Design for Software & Business Professionals

One-line description:Learn the concepts, principles, and practices of design and how to use them to craft software and businesses.
Session format: Something entirely original [read about the different session types]
Abstract:Design is a word often used in software development but without real substance. In recent years both the software and the business community have recognized that Designers have developed a body of knowledge, a set of concepts, best practices, and numerous techniques that have general application and value. At the same time the kind of problems that software must address (and businesses must respond to) have changed in nature, from deterministic formal systems to dynamic complex, and very large scale, systems. The concepts and practices developed by Designers are particularly useful to the latter kind of problem.

This combination tutorial-workshop will first provide a working knowledge of design ideas and principles. Participants will then attend other SPA sessions, while devoting some part of their attention to looking for hard problems that might be amenable to resolution using a design approach. On the last day of the conference a workshop will be held where participants present the problems they have found, organize into design teams and then apply design thinking to produce a solution.
Audience background:We assume participants will have nominal background in design other than the standard decision making processes involved in all software development. This session could be of great use to non-software, business oriented analysts and managers as well as technical professionals.
Benefits of participating:Participants will leave with an understanding of what design is all about, and a working knowledge of how to learn more. In addition they will gain an understanding of how to use specific design principles and practices to improve their ability to design software components, to be more Agile, and to better match software solutions with business problems.
Materials provided:The current draft of a book on design thinking patterns and applications, worked exercises and examples of design applied to business and software.
Process:The tutorial portion will consist of a sequence of modules, each module introducing a concept, providing an exercise and allowing for discussion of exercise results with a short introduction session and a short retrospective session. The workshop portion will be a sequence of modules with each module including the introduction of problems and self-selection of teams, designing a solution, and discussion of the solution. A retrospective session will conclude the workshop.
Detailed timetable:Detailed Timetable: (assume breaks are in addition to the 330 minutes and so did not schedule them)

Tutorial Session
00:00 00:15 Introduction and objectives Design and importance for software/business
00:15 00:55 Module 1 Core design thinking patterns
00:15 - 00:25 introduce patterns
00:25 00:35 guided discussion
00:35 00:45 team exercise
00:45 00:55 analysis of exercise results
00:55 01:35 Module 2 Design principle patterns
[same substructure as Module 1]
01:35 03:15 Module 3 Design practice patterns
[same substructure as Module 1 & 2]
03:15 03:30 How to prepare for Workshop session

Workshop Session
00:00 00:15 General discussion of preparation results, overview of problems found
00:15 00:55 Module 1 Problem set one
00:15 - 00:25 introduce problems, form teams
00:25 00:45 guided team design work
00:45 00:55 team reports
00:55 01:35 Module 2 second set of problems
[same substructure as Module 1]
01:35 03:15 Module 3 third set of problems
[same substructure as Module 1 & 2]
03:15 03:30 Retrospective
Outputs:Attendees will leave with a completed workbook, notes, and worked examples of designed solutions. They will have a different perspective that can be applied to everyday activities in Agile development shops.
History:The content of the proposed session is based on a design thinking patterns book that has been presented in part at two different PLoP conferences. It is also based on the full-day tutorial and 3-day workshop that has been offered as corporate training.
1. Rebecca Rikner
2. david west