How to prepare the room for a Big Picture Event Storming

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Running a Big Picture Event Storming is a great way to kick start a project. Fortunately, it only requires standard supplies. Here is a detailed checklist.

An cardboard box written 'Event Storming'. It's opened in an empty room in preparation of a DDD Event Storming

In the previous post, I wrote about preparing a successful Event Storming workshop. Before we jump into the actual animation in the next post, here is the material you'll need:

Obviously, this only applies to physical Event Storming workshops. However, if you are preparing for a remote Event Storming, the supply list will be very different. This will be the topic for another post!

A Visual Agenda

One critical thing to prepare before the session is a Visual Agenda. As I explained, participants may feel destabilized by the mass of information and ideas that emerge during an Event Storming. To help them through, before the session begins, stick the Visual Agenda on the room's walls. Participants will know when they enter that they are here for a different workshop. Also, walking them through the various steps of the Visual Agenda before they start will reassure them. It's also an excellent way to highlight the few rules of Event Storming.

A Sample Visual Agenda for a full length DDD Big Picture Event Storming session

You can find explanations about how to prepare a Visual Agenda in the GameStorming book or website.

Cover of the Gamestorming book. This book contains a guide to create a visual agenda for your workshop. It was also one of the inspirations for the Event Storming workshop itself.

You must be wondering what the steps actually are. Don't worry; we'll cover this in the next post. For now, here is a list of other supplies you'll need to run an Event Storming workshop.

💡 Event Storming can be a somewhat destabilizing workshop. A Visual Agenda will reassure first-time attendees.

Infinite Design Space

A photo of a very large design board spread on the wall. There is also extra paper roll to increase the design space if needed. DDD Event Storming requires a lot of design space to let us envision anything we want.

By far, the most challenging thing to find is a big enough wall to do the workshop! Alberto Brandolini, the inventor of Event Storming, recommends an 8 meters long wall. Having an 'infinite' design space has two benefits:

  • Participants won't constraint their ideas, creativity, and visualization to the available space
  • Participants will have enough place walk around and collaborate at will

If you have a large enough room, this should be your first choice. Alberto says that corridors can be good candidates too. My own experience with this was disappointing, though. Participants complained about other people coming and going all the time.

Once you've found a room, you'll need a large paper roll to stick your post-its on. Using paper instead of the wall makes the workshop 'movable.' This way, you will be able to add more design space if you need it. You'll also be able to stick it in your workplace for a few days after the workshop if you want.

Stickies

A stack of Post-Its. DDD Event Storming makes a very heavy usage of Post-its. Some even say Event Storming was invented by 3M to sell more Post-Its 🤣

Event Storming consumes a tremendous amount of sticky notes, especially orange ones, for domain events. To summarize, you'll need:

  • Many orange stickies, around one stack per person
  • pink stickies
  • large yellow stickies
  • small yellow stickies
  • blue stickies

Each color has a specific meaning in the Event Storming legend. We'll see what these are used for in a future post.

Sharpies

A box of sharpies. Sharpies markers are great for writing on Event Storming Post-Its because they let us write just the right amount of words.

Obviously, people will need something to write on the post-its. Sharpies or small markers are the best. They are readable from a few meters but still let you write enough words on a single post-it.

No Chairs, No Table

Typical meetings are boring and get people sleepy. In comparison, a successful Event Storming workshop keeps people energized and productive. Removing chairs and meeting tables in the area helps people to stay energized. However, we don't want Event Storming to become a slow torture session either! This means you'll need to schedule enough breaks.

A Small Table

We'll need somewhere to place our supply of post-its and sharpies. A small table will be the final addition to our setup.

One last thing… food!

Photo of a few cookies. Food is a great addition to a DDD Event Storming. Attendees will praise you for it.

If you can, bring some food and drinks. The workshop can be very tiring; having food around sustains participants' energy longer.

💡 I beg you to bring food to avoid #DeathByEventStorming

To be continued

By now, you should have everything ready to run your first Event Storming! In the next post, we'll share a typical agenda for the workshop.


This blog post is part of the 1h Event Storming book that we are currently writing.

An earlier version of this post was originally published on Philippe’s blog

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