Design Heuristics

Two day workshop
Rebecca Wirfs-Brock

  Distilling your Design Heuristics
Watch Rebecca's presentation about heuristics from the Domain-Driven Design Europe 2018 conference.

No dates are scheduled for this workshop. Let us know if you think we should organize it near you, or if you'd like to book it on premise in your organisation.

How can we get better as software designers? By becoming more aware of our design heuristics and continuing to cultivate and refine them. Heuristics aid in design, guide our use of other heuristics, and even determine our attitude and behavior. In addition to heuristics we learn from others, we have own unique toolkit of additional heuristics acquired through years of experience. Each heuristic makes sense under certain circumstances. If we don’t have the same conditions, the specific heuristic might not be useful.

This workshop is an opportunity to learn practical techniques for recording and distilling your design heuristics and becoming more intentional about design. During the workshop you’ll have ample opportunities to practice a variety of techniques for identifying and expressing your heuristics.

What You’ll Learn

  • Differences between “fast and frugal” heuristics and design heuristics
  • Three types of design heuristics: Heuristics that aid in design, heuristics that guide our use of other heuristics,
  • Simple techniques for recording heuristics on the fly (Question-Heuristic-Example Cards, Heuristic Gists)
  • How to conduct a structured conversation to distill heuristics
  • Heuristic mining techniques
  • The relationship between patterns and heuristics
  • How to recognize and decide among conflicting / competing heuristics
  • Decision making under stress
  • Techniques for growing your heuristics: Spotting heuristics in the wild, arguing a point of view, reconciling your heuristics with new ones


  • Senior developers and architects
  • No devices, just plenty of hands-on activities
Rebecca Wirfs-Brock

About Rebecca Wirfs-Brock

Rebecca is an object design pioneer who invented the set of design practices known as Responsibility-Driven Design (RDD) and by accident started the x-Driven Design meme. Along the way she authored two popular object design books that are still in print. She was the design columnist for IEEE Software. You can find her design columns, papers, and writing at

In her work, Rebecca helps teams hone their design and architecture skills, manage and reduce technical debt, refactor their code, and address architecture risks. In addition to coaching and personal mentoring, she teaches and conducts workshops on Responsibility-Driven Design, Pragmatic TDD, enterprise application design, agile design skills and thinking, being agile about system qualities, and Agile Architecture. In her spare time she jogs (even in the rain).

Rebecca is also program director of the Agile Alliance’s Experience Report Initiative. Another interest of hers is software patterns. She serves on the Board of the Hillside Group and recently has written an essay about the relationship between patterns and heuristics, patterns about how to create and manage magic backlogs, sustainable architecture, agile QA, and adaptive systems architectures. If you are interested in writing about your experiences or sharing your wisdom in pattern form, contact Rebecca. She can help you turn your itch for writing into the written word.

All workshops by Rebecca Wirfs-Brock

No dates are scheduled for this workshop. Let us know if you think we should organize it near you, or if you'd like to book it on premise in your organisation.

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