DDD Europe 2022 - Program

Design for Humans: How to Make Better Modernization Decisions


Indu Alagarsamy and Olivia Cheng

Indu AlagarsamyOlivia Cheng

Many times, we’ve seen organizations with particularly complex domains fail in their modernization efforts. To be successful, we need to have a firm grasp on the domain and the relationships to other systems and domains. But most importantly, we need to put the people who are using our systems at the center of our problem solving.

When we only use an engineering lens to design our systems, we don’t always get enough perspective to make sure we’re building the right thing. Are you asking the right questions? Are you anchoring your architecture to the wrong needs? Is your decision-making influenced by assumptions and biases?

Without a holistic understanding of how each component of your system is (or isn’t) meeting the needs of your users— no matter how well your systems are architected, you risk having critical gaps in your design and strategy. You risk not being able to deliver value for your users.

Olivia’s product design background and Indu’s software architecture background bring a set of methods that will help you look at the complexity and make sense of the mess in a structured, repeatable way. We’ll expand your toolbox of (remote-friendly) collaborative, cross-disciplinary techniques to understand your domain and center the people that your systems serve.

About Indu Alagarsamy

Principal Engineer at The New York TimesTwitter

Indu enjoys designing distributed systems using event-driven architecture style and domain-driven design principles. She has over 15 years of software development experience working with various industries like healthcare, finance, biotech, and emergency services. She is currently a Principal Engineer at the New York Times. She is passionate about diversity and inclusiveness in the tech industry. When not working, she's an occasional rock climber, who loves to chill in sunny Southern California with her kids and giant puppy.

About Olivia Cheng

Product Design Director at The New York TimesTwitterLinkedInBlog

Olivia is a design leader who thinks in systems. She has worn many hats in the process of designing systems and experiences for people, but has always played facilitator and translator to build more inclusively: whether means translating systems, researching user needs, or just getting people on the same page.

She has a decade of design experience working across wide-ranging domains including open data, civic tech, design tools, and platforms.

She is currently a Product Design Director at The New York Times, leading a team that seeks to improve the shared core capabilities across the Times. Outside of work, she can be found cooking with her cats and looking for the next hike.