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Modeling software with Post-It's? YES! - Introducing to EventStorming

Łukasz Reszke
Open-minded software engineer. Programming mostly in C#. Event Storming facilitator.
・2 min read

Event Storming is a flexible workshop format for the collaborative exploration of business domains.

Where to apply the Event Storming?

Event Storming can be used for different things:

  • exploring current processes
  • exploring new domain
  • kicking off a startup
  • challenging corporate process

Event Storming is based on the modeling domain with business events. In the Event Storming workshop, you’ll be mostly using sticky notes, also known as post-it notes. The workshop is about discussing and documenting how the business works, by using stickies. It makes it is easier for us, tech folks, to bring in our business stakeholders into the discussion.

Simplicity is the beauty of this framework.

As mentioned, Event Storming is a flexible workshop. It means that you should try it out and correct the course to see what works for you and your company. There's no perfect way, no perfect recipe to run the session. It can be run in many different formats, and for different purposes.

There are few things in common though:

  • there has to be a facilitator
  • if the workshop is offline, people shouldn’t sit early on in the session (setting is allowed later on if the workshop takes a lot of time). Although when writing this document, offline workshops are mostly forbidden (or not recommended). It is hard to convince people to stand up on an online session. Not everyone has the conditions to do so.
  • the system is described by domain events, in a verb at the past tense. Those domain events are placed on sticky notes. According to notation, those should be orange
  • you have to make sure that the right people are invited Event Storming was invented by Alberto Brandolini in 2013 and is often used in the context of domain-driven design.

Event Storming is about learning, discovering, and discussions. Developers learn from domain experts. Domain experts and business stakeholders learn from each other. The visibility of the process simplifies talking and thinking about certain areas. The simple notation encourages people to speak. There’s no technical background needed to be able to participate in the Event Storming session. It breaks the barriers.

If you’re a developer, remember that

If you ever decide to organize an Event Storming session in your company or with your client, please, don’t talk code. Well, unless you know the people you’re talking to and you know that they feel confident with that. But that’s an exception. The domain experts and stakeholders usually don’t speak by SQL, for each, loops, etc. You get the point. You want the participants to do the brain dump of everything they know about a certain part of the domain. Don’t discourage them.

Challenges

One of the biggest challenges is focusing some of the people to think about business events, and also distinguish them from other events, like UI ones. There’s one technique that I like and helps a lot. When it’s hard to make a decision or convince someone to talk about the business events, ask the person how would he/she handle that scenario when there were no computers? It usually helps to get back to the essence of the discussion.

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