Kenny Baas-Schwegler and Evelyn van Kelle

Facilitating Collaborative Design Decisions

If we want to make sustainable design decisions for our architecture that are embraced by everyone, the most effective way is to do this collaboratively. Everyone can feel a part of the decision and can potentially give the input they have. The group is aligned and knows what is to be expected onward. On paper, this sounds great, but in reality, we know it is hard to do because we need to deal with all sorts of group dynamics. Dynamics like cultural differences, conflicts of opinions, cognitive biases, and polarities that the group is part of. These dynamics cause people to stop sharing what they want, which ends up in resistance behaviour from sarcastic jokes to stopped communication or leaving the session. No wonder a lot of people resort to a more autocratic form of decision-making, where the architect analyzes and makes the decision. So how can we make collaborative decision decisions better?

Join Evelyn and Kenny in this hands-on workshop where we explore different models of decision-making that can help facilitate collaborative design decisions. We will dive into a variety of facilitation techniques such as:

  • Working with climate reports to trigger hidden group conflicts.
  • Visualising trade-offs of different models with the pro-con-fix list.
  • Taking group decisions with full buy-in with Deep Democracy.

About the Speakers:

Kenny Baas-Schwegler

A lot of knowledge is lost when designing and building software — lost because of hand-overs in a telephone game, confusing communication by not having a shared language, discussing complexity without visualisation, and hassle that comes from conflict by not leveraging the full potential and wisdom of the diversity of the people. That lost knowledge while creating software impacts the sustainability, quality and value of the software product.

As an independent software consultant, tech lead, and software architect, Kenny Baas-Schwegler steps in to tackle this issue through sociotechnical system design. By facilitating collaborative modelling and applying Domain-Driven Design and Deep Democracy, he catalyses organisations, teams, and groups of people to design and build sustainable software systems. He explains his approach in the co-authored book 'Collaborative Software Design: How to Facilitate Domain Modelling Decisions'.

One of Kenny’s main value-based heuristics is sharing knowledge. You can see that in action at his blog on, and curating the Leanpub book "Visual Collaboration Tool". Being an active figure in the Domain-Driven Design community, organising events for Virtual Domain-Driven Design ( and Domain Driven Design Nederland. Additionally, he routinely shares his experiences at conferences and meetups through informative talks and workshops.

Evelyn van Kelle

Evelyn van Kelle is a strategic software delivery consultant, with experience in coaching, advising and guiding organisations and teams in designing socio-technical systems. Her Master’s degree in social sciences brings new and valuable perspectives when it comes to optimizing both delivery- and team processes.

Being a firm believer of context shaping meaning, she is focused on understanding company- and team culture before anything else. Finding the actual problem to solve and adding business value are starting points in her work. Evelyn is convinced that we need a shared sense of reality including shared values, goals and language in order to perform best as a team. She is curious, driven and pragmatic. “Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection” describes her line of reasoning.

Besides her daily work, she has a predilection for books and linguistics and highly appreciates good food.