Providing a framework for communication

A lot of my work at present is helping the technical leaders of our business aligned groups do their work effectively. There’s lots of communication individually, and as a team.

Having all the smart people (and me) in a room greatly aids decision making, but one of the most valuable communication aids that I’ve implemented is describing responsibility and accountability in terms of bounded contexts.

Eric Evans uses this term in Domain Driven Design to separate out modelling concepts and to try and stop the “grand unified theory of Customer object definition”. What I’m using the bounded contexts for is to describe the areas of accountability for the tech leads and say “whatever happens inside that boundary is your problem, but you have to communicate to other contexts using my rules”.

So far, this has been working very well. It really helps in guiding the communication to “what bounded context should this functionality logically be located” and hence the ownership.  Then, the tech lead working in that area is completely free to implement the functionality according to their methods, exposing the interaction via an interface that is “proscribed” (but generally we thrash about as a team defining what this will look like).

As I was trying to describe this process internally to managers at REA, I found that this article (http://gorodinski.com/blog/2012/04/03/bounded-contexts-as-a-strategic-pattern-beyond-ddd/) provided a nice starting point.