Eventstorming as a cultural probe

Eventstorming is an amazing technique/tool invented by Alberto ‘Zio Brando’ Brandolini to investigate a software process, which I also use to investigate an organization’s culture. I wrote this article to introduce a video in which I describe some Eventstorming nuances I had the chance to play with on a few real customer projects.

Event what?

Eventstorming was born as a workshop-based method to quickly find out what is happening in the domain of a software program. Compared to other methods it is extremely lightweight and requires intentionally no support from a computer. It drives the participants into representing with post-its all the events that one can see happening in a process—in an organization, in a team or in a software—and then play with them, by adding all the commands, the systems and the policies that are in between.

For the sake of brevity, here it’s just important to focus on the importance of policies, as they are the reason-why behind any action performed in a process after an event occurs. E.g. event: “I received an invoice”; policy: “happy suppliers”; action/command: “I order a bank transfer”.

A growing community

In July 2018 I had the privilege to attend the first Eventstorming Summit organized by Avanscoperta, meant to gather all key Eventstorming practitioners from any corner of the world, in order to discuss and exchange ideas on how to use this amazing technique/tool.

During those few days, a lot of different Eventstorming ‘flavors’ emerged. It was very interesting to listen to all those very skilled professionals and understand how subtle differences in their context could result in such a deeply different interpretation of the tool itself.

In this video, I share my 2 cents about one Eventstorming aspect I find very powerful.

My best Eventstorming ever

Last spring I worked with Zanichelli, one of the biggest Italian publishing companies in collaboration with Raffaele Boiano and a few friends from Fifth Beat. Zanichelli’s need was to map, analyze and improve the publishing process that brings the abstract idea of a new book to its tangible printing.

Many people, with a diverse skill set, lots of experience and several decision scopes, working together to pursue a common goal, all looking for some clarity in the tangled mess of their workflow. Potentially a mess to understand, but it was a perfect job for Evenstorming!

People participating in Jacopo's eventstorming workshops

With Raffaele, we set up a row of Eventstorming-based workshops to extract all the pain points, so that it could be possible to spot, share and fix them.

We saw people who had begun the day with a “this is not my job” attitude turning into team players aiming to better involve colleagues with other roles in their own decision making. None of the six teams we met was like the other, but Eventstorming fitted all of them, at the same time helping to disrupt a silo-based mindset.

Join the community!

This is just a short article by which I aim to raise more questions rather than giving answers. I hope it triggered your curiosity! Feel free to contact me to know more about it. You could be the next practitioner to join the summit and explain your Eventstorming flavor! This is just the beginning. Eventstorming is still young: who knows what we will find down the road?