Tech meets design

YConf | October 15th

YConf is the destination for product managers, designers and developers. Discover how continuous evolution and innovation of compelling products works in practice and learn how the integration of tech and design will give you an edge.

Explore how teams in modern digital businesses successfully combine technology and design. Regardless of what you call yourself, join us for our free one day conference if you’re looking for inspiration and learning opportunities on how to create the future through innovation.

Your keynote speaker

Claire Rowland

Claire Rowland

Product Strategy & Experience Design Consultant for IoT

Claire Rowland is a London-based product/UX strategy consultant specialising in IoT. For the last 10 years, she has helped organisations develop a wide range of connected products and hardware-enabled services, from breast pumps to industrial power tools, home automation and energy management. She is the lead author of Designing Connected Products: UX for the consumer internet of things.


(All timings are in Central European Summer Time)

9:30am - 9:45am


9.45am - 10.30am

Keynote: Hardware is hard(er): designing for distributed user experiences in IoT

Claire Rowland, Product Strategy & Experience Design Consultant

Designing connected devices and hardware-enabled services is significantly more complex than pure software. There are more devices on which code can run, connectivity and data sharing patterns to consider, and often multiple and varied touchpoints for users to interact with. Pulling this all together into a coherent experience involves strong collaboration between design and engineering, and a systems thinking approach to UX. In this talk, we’ll introduce what designers need to know about the tech, what engineers need to know about UX for IoT, and how to facilitate the whole-collaboration needed to create great products.

10.30am - 11.15am

Design System as a Product 

Maria Elena Duenias, Senior Developer at ThoughtWorks and Esther Butcher, Senior Developer at ThoughtWorks

Design systems are a great example where web development and design meet. You can find innumerable resources on the internet, books and conferences on how to build them, and how they are exactly what your organization needs. But, building one requires a lot more than following a recipe. In this talk we are going to discuss how to build a design system as an internal product, and how it evolves to become what the users need.

11.15am - 11.30am

Morning Break

11.30am - 12.15pm

How to create more business impact with flexible teams

Jan Hegewald, Director of Engineering at Zalando, Rebekka Beels, Head of Engineering at Zalando

Usually, Software Engineering teams are organized around a fixed set of components which they develop further and maintain. Such component teams gain a high level of expert knowledge about their services. However, with agile product development, it often is difficult to implement the most important initiatives with such teams. This leads to a situation where the teams do not work on the most relevant business topics but on those for the respective team. At Zalando, we introduced a new model where we shape teams flexibly around business goals to create the highest impact. How we organize these teams and which challenges especially for the software quality need to be addressed, will be explored in this talk.

12.15pm - 1.00pm

Lunch Break

1.00pm - 1.45pm

Dual-Track Agile for Discovery & Development

Adriana Katrandzhieva, Senior Business Analyst at ThoughtWorks

The talk will focus on one of the ways teams can ensure continuous delivery and design in their projects. The so-called ‘Dual-track’ model shows the parallel tracks of discovery and development throughout the product design and delivery process. These continually feedback into each other informing new hypothesis that can be tested in order to be proven/disproven. This model is not always easy to implement out of the box and so I will share my own experiences in applying it in practice - what worked, what didn't and how the model can be adjusted to fit different teams and organisational environments.

1.45pm - 2.30pm

Designing the Developer Experience

Tanja Bach, Lead Business Analyst at ThoughtWorks and Jacob Bo Tiedemann, Senior Business Analyst at ThoughtWorks

Working with software that some other people have built, is not only daily business for private and business users but also for developers. Just like any other product, a product for developers needs to solve their problems and focus on the right jobs-to-be-done in order to be successfully adopted by the developer community. In this talk, we will explain why the developer experience matters not only to developers but also to the business. We will share our learnings and real-world examples of how we created a developer experience for a cloud infrastructure product and an IoT platform that the developers love.

2.30pm - 2.45pm

Afternoon Break

2.45pm - 3.30pm

Designers, Developers and Dogs: Finding the magic balance between product and tech

Charlotte Vorbeck, Senior UX Designer at ShareNow and Sahil Bajaj Lead Developer at ThoughtWorks

How can an agile delivery team become a successful product team? When does collaboration between product and tech succeed and when not? Why do people in some teams inspire each other while others in the same environment don't speak the same language? In this talk we want to share our learnings and experiences from rebuilding an internal tool for customer support at ShareNow. What could have been just another boring rewrite surprisingly became one of our best experiences in collaboration. We will look at how a joint discovery phase helped us to come up with a shared vision, how a better team setup enabled us to do the necessary work, how focusing on the customer kept us aligned during our journey, and also how we built upon existing collaborative techniques to achieve this new level of cooperation and trust.

3.30pm - 4.15pm

When We Design Together

Sabrina Mach, Head of Design at ThoughtWorks; Ammara Gafoor, Lead Business Analyst at ThoughtWorks and James Emmott, Developer at ThoughtWorks

From three distinct perspectives, this talk will contend that design is an activity undertaken by everyone in a software development team. It occurs throughout the process of delivery — not only at the beginning or the end — and it is a powerful instrument for learning about and adapting to the problems our work seeks to solve, which is a shared responsibility. Making the best use of our multidisciplinary expertise in the activity of design requires forms of collaboration that are too often disrupted by the role-based silos that keep us separated and weaken the valuable contribution our diverse approaches could make to our collective efforts. If you care about accelerating time to market, improving customer experience, or building happy and productive teams, you will want to know why and how it matters that we believe ‘design is in everything that we do’

4.15pm - 5.00pm

After conference drinks


Adriana Katrandzhieva

Senior Business Analyst at ThoughtWorks

'Dual-Track Agile for Discovery & Development'

Ammara Gafoor

Lead Business Analyst at ThoughtWorks

'When We Design Together'

Charlotte Vorbeck

Senior UX Designer at ShareNow

'Designers, Developers and Dogs: Finding the magic balance between product and tech'

Esther Butcher

Senior Designer at ThoughtWorks

'Design System as a Product'

Jacob Bo Tiedemann

Senior Business Analyst at ThoughtWorks

'Designing the Developer Experience'

James Emmott

Developer at ThoughtWorks

'When We Design Together'

Jan Hegewald

Director of Engineering at Zalando

'How to create more business impact with flexible teams'

Maria Elena Duenias

Senior Developer at ThoughtWorks

'Design System as a Product

Rebekka Beels

Head of Engineering at Zalando

'How to create more business impact with flexible teams'

Sabrina Mach

Head of Design at ThoughtWorks

'When We Design Together'

Sahil Bajaj

Lead Developer at ThoughtWorks

'Designers, Developers and Dogs: Finding the magic balance between product and tech'

Tanja Bach

Lead Business Analyst at ThoughtWorks 

'Designing the Developer Experience'

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