Alberto Brandolini, inventor of Event Storming method says:
a remote event storming does not work
I don`t agree.
Big Picture Event Storming is not a good fit for an online session
Event Storming can be run remotely and I was doing it many times. But only two types of event storming are a good fit for doing it remotely: Process Event Storming and Design Level Event Storming. The third version of Event Storming which is Big Picture Event Storming because of the type of collaboration it requires and usually a bigger number of people involved is a worse fit.
During the early phase in the Big Picture there are a lot of simultaneous discussions happening between Domain Experts and discussions that could easily turn into arguments. This is very dynamic and in the same time chaotic phase during which ideas and revelations are appearing one after another and if the medium used (conference call) would constrain participants in a way that they could not form smaller sub-groups we would make this part much less reviling and because of that much less beneficial.
Design Level and Process Event Storming are online-friendly
On the other hand, Design Level and Process Event Storming because of their nature could be successfully performed online. During Design Level, discussions are far more structured and usually, the whole group is involved. There is much bigger responsibility on the facilitator role and his 100% engagement and awareness is required because the group could easily drift with discussions and it’s much harder to monitor participant’s engagement.
It’s hard but it is not impossible, with the below tips it should be a much more pleasant experience.
Tips and rules for facilitator:
- Ask for turning on cameras, it will be easier for you to monitor participants engagement, because silence does not always mean a lack of involvement
- Don’t invite more than 5-8 people. Around 5 people is a good number.
- Organize breaks very often, at least every 30 minutes, ask participants to stand up and walk around office/home for a few minutes during the break
- Time-box every discussion, otherwise not involved participants will fall asleep
- Ask everyone to add sticky notes simultaneously
- Narrow the scope of design level, with the smaller scope it is easier to do it in a smaller period of time
- Do shorter and more often iterations of Event Storming -> Coding to prove -> Event Storming -> Coding etc. Good practice would be 2-3 hour session of event storming and after that going back to code
- Paste Brandolini “Picture which explains everything” above working area as a reference for participants
- Use hotspot spot sticky as a way of parking open questions with no answer-do not forget to send those questions to proper Domain Expert after the session and come back ASAP with answers
- Ask participants to split their screen or use two monitors in a way they could at the same time see the board with sticky notes and faces of other participants. Talking to another human with the real face is generating more empathic and agreeable behavior then talking to a random voice on a call
- Have fun! Keep the energy of group high, humor is a good solution, from time to time you can paste on board some funny meme/picture which is related somehow to the current discussion
- Do not resign after the first session, it will get better with experience, running online event storming is not an easy task and it requires practice!