One of the most common challenges companies face worldwide is how to ensure there is effective communication between teams. A variety of reasons come into play on all sides – employees don’t understand the problems of managers, business representatives don’t get the dilemmas of software developers. Well, this story is as old as time. But old problems need modern solutions, hence Event Storming workshops.
This meeting of the minds sparks conversation and enables all the employees to understand each other better. Knowing how this can contribute to seeing the bigger picture of a company and product development, it’s time to try it for yourself.
Here’s a quick guide to your first Event Storming workshops.
Step 1 – Objective
The most important step is to determine the purpose of the workshops. Do you want to create a business model of product development or get the “bigger picture” of your company with all its goals and needs? Or maybe you need to find all the obstacles, bottlenecks, and areas of conflict along the way?
In both cases, the workshops can provide you with all the answers you need, giving you additional value – better communication and understanding across all teams.
Step 2 – People and place
If you gather the right people, the aim of the workshops will be met. You need a group of people who know their job – developers with questions and business representatives with answers to those questions.
No one is sitting – all the chairs have to be removed during the workshop. The person conducting and guiding the session will be a facilitator. This role is quite demanding and you may use these helpful tips.
It all starts with an open floor and a modeling space (a whiteboard as big as possible, or a long wall, or a huge piece of paper pinned to the wall) with an established timeline. Everyone gets a marker and there are many colors of sticky notes available with each color representing a different term or event:
- orange – Domain Events,
- blue – Commands,
- yellow – Users,
- pink – Systems,
- purple – Policies,
- yellow – Aggregates.
Step 3 – Creating a map
The best is to start Event Storming with a short discussion about the purpose and main principles. Everyone must understand the meaning of the post-its’ colors and all the words used during the workshops. It is helpful to create a small glossary containing crucial terms used daily in each line of business, but it’s even better to avoid using jargon. Effective and free-flowing communication is the key to success in these workshops.
Here is where the action starts and involvement is the name of the game. The group begins with naming the events that occur in the development process, then they have to decide why they happen. Everything is written on the post-its stuck to the modeling space. More and more colorful sticky notes will be appearing in the modeling space – this should be done fast and without any interruption:
Putting everything together is a lot of stuff. Just keep in mind that the goal of the workshop is to learn as much as possible in the shortest possible time. We invited key people to the workshop, and we don’t want to waste their time.Alberto Brandolini
You have to specify your outcomes within a process. In the workshops, they are called Domain Events and are represented by orange post-its. Write them in the past tense as if they just happened, for example: “New account was created”.
A first note doesn’t have to be the first event in the development path, it can be placed in the middle of the modeling space. It’s only the starting point – now you can decide what happened before and after it.
The reasons why your events occurred are Commands and are represented by blue sticky notes. They are placed before an event and written in the present tense, e.g.: “Create an account”. It’s easier to think about them as an answer to the question: What should happen for the event to occur?
Each event needs a trigger – and since it can be a human being, your green post-its are the Users. These are put below the command and event pairs.
All the systems involved in the domain are represented by pink sticky notes. They can be the systems in your company, third-party, or internal services interacting with the developed product.
Purple sticky notes are business processes. They represent rules that may need to be executed. They are put before an event or instead of a command. Their aim is to show how your company is supposed to react to the given event.
Aggregates and Bounded Context
It’s time to group the post-its to create an aggregate representing a specific business concept. Their names are written above each group on yellow sticky notes.
At this stage, you can’t forget about the bounded context – not all words mean the same for the people from different departments. The boundaries can be blurred and it is hard to decide where one role ends and another one starts.
At the end of the event storming workshops, you should investigate all the events written on the orange post-its. It may feel like you started with chaos, but at this point, you can see that you’re heading towards harmony. You have to examine the emerging multi-layered bounded context and as a result, you will notice that key information is visible.
It can be useful to check if everything was mentioned. Encourage both business people and developers to share their points of view and sum up the whole meeting.
It’s practical to take notes of the interesting ideas and unexpected solutions that turned up along the way. They are precious and you can use them during further development.
Event storming workshops engage teams
An interactive workshop-based technique of simplifying complex web projects while finding solutions to all the possible obstacles could be your way forward.
Event Storming enables cross-perspective exchanges, it’s fun and engages all the teams in conversation. The method is particularly useful where there is poor communication. But, most importantly, it maps out all the events and stages of the product development helping to create a “big picture” of your company.