DDD Europe 2024 - Program

Knowledge Crunching and Psychological Safety - from myth to evidence-based practices

Main Conference - Hands-on Lab


Martin Günther and Helen Rapp

Martin GüntherHelen Rapp
Friday 31 from 14:30 until 16:30

(This is a hands-on lab with limited capacity)

Do you know the situation of having an urgent question in a meeting in order to be able to follow the rest of the meeting well, but not daring to ask it? Have you ever held back information in a conversation because you were not one hundred percent sure of its relevance or accuracy? Perhaps you have also experienced a reverse situation in which you expressed your opinion and afterwards you realized that it was simply accepted, although you would have liked to have had a critical reflection yourself?

In case you answered one of these questions with yes, be assured that this not uncommon. However, it may take away an opportunity to learn together and create clarity. Speaking of Domain-Driven Design, this especially applies to Knowledge crunching, the collaborative gathering and discovery of all relevant influencing factors in order to build a useful model. Knowledge crunching is an essential starting point and continuously guiding part of Domain-Driven Design throughout the whole process. In order to be successful to collect the relevant insights, all participants have to feel safe and need to have the opportunity to contribute their knowledge and experience. Which leads us to the topic of psychological safety.

With the release of the famous New York Times article „What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team“ it is widely known that psychological safety is a valuable aspect in team collaboration with major effects on team performance. Since then, psychological safety has become a hyped topic and is often sold as a panacea (universal cure) for "underperforming" teams. Despite existing scientific knowledge about how psychological safety functions and how it is created, people started to use own interpretations and tried to create it by fighting symptoms rather than implementing meaningful changes. This lead to many misunderstandings, myths surrounding psychological safety and, as a result, the topic is often seen as ineffective at best or, at worst, even as a harmful promotion of a performance-averse feel-good oasis.

In order to be successful as a practitioner of Domain-Driven Design when working with socio-technical systems, you will have to deal with psychological safety. This workshop will support you by going back to the scientific knowledge and you will learn

  • why and in which environments psychological safety is important in the first place,
  • that psychological safety is always context-dependent,
  • why uncertainty is naturally the default in many situations,
  • why everyone involved is needed for psychological safety to emerge and
  • some quick fixes that work on a systemic level and which are not just symptom avoidance interventions.

You don't need any prior knowledge to take part in the session. In the interactive parts, we will give you the opportunity to reflect on what you have learned for your personal contexts and to exchange insights with other participants. At the end, you will take away at least one idea for a first step to improve the conditions for the development of psychological safety in your own environment.

About Martin Günther

Martin has been consulting and supporting companies in the implementation of their software projects as a software architect and agile coach for many years. He always has the big picture in mind, looking for the boundaries that naturally divide the domain into conceptual units in order to build robust and efficient systems from these parts. Additionally, his profound experience in facilitating workshops helps him to accompany groups in their process of gaining insights and decision-making and to enable all team members to interact in an appreciative and effective manner.

About Helen Rapp

Helen is a psychologist and has been supporting teams and organizational units in learning together for several years, for example in the role of an agile coach. She uses her training, her systemic approach, and her experience in designing and facilitating collaborative workshops to make collaboration effective and at eye level. In her work, she pays particular attention to the people in the organization without losing sight of the big picture.