What is Storystorming?


Storystorming is a toolbox and mashup of existing methods to collaboratively explore user journeys, work procedures and business processes and refine them into working software models. Storystorming facilitates many opportunities for collaboration between business and technology experts, helps them to visually connect the dots and discover what your organisation needs to be successful.

“By visually mapping known methods such as Domain Storytelling, User Story Mapping and Impact Mapping to a small set of reusable building blocks and colors inspired by EventStorming, these methods become more accessible to busy organizations, but can also be easily linked with each other.”

-- Martin Schimak

“By visually mapping known methods such as Domain Storytelling, User Story Mapping and Impact Mapping to a small set of reusable building blocks and colors inspired by EventStorming, these methods become more accessible to busy organizations, but can also be easily linked with each other.”

-- Martin Schimak

Human (or Group)
Dark Yellow
Human (or Group)

With dark yellow sticky notes, we visualize a person or a group like e.g. organisational units or specific users. We may want to use specific names or work with more generic roles.

Command (or Activity)
Blue
Command (or Activity)

With blue sticky notes we visualize sentences in which some actor (human or machine) is being told to do something. Bit fuzzy, we use it to describe the activity carried out.

Machine (or Component)
Pink
Machine (or Component)

With pink sticky notes, we visualize a machine or its components like e.g. services, modules or entities in terms of software or e.g. a car in terms of other machines or hardware.

Question (or Search)
Light Green
Question (or Search)

With light green sticky notes we visualize sentences in which some actor (human or machine) is asked for information. We often refer to questions as being queries or searches.

Behavior (or Decision)
Lilac
Behavior (or Decision)

With a lilac sticky note we describe the more concrete behavior of an actor (a human or a machine/component), in particular what influences the decisions to be made.

Statement (or Object)
Dark Green
Statement (or Object)

With dark green sticky notes we visualize sentences in which some actor (human or machine) provides existing facts or perceptions, often in a form of documents or objects.

Attention (or Uncertainty)
Magenta
Attention (or Uncertainty)

With a magenta sticky note we highlight all kinds of different things that require further attention or things that still seem to be unclear and hence need to be clarified later.

Event (or Exception)
Orange
Event (or Exception)

With an orange sticky note, we visualize something that has happened, be it a reaction to a command or not, be it a (desired) material change or a (less fortunate) exception.

Deliverable (or Proposal)
Light Yellow
Deliverable (or Proposal)

With light yellow sticky notes, we record results we propose or want to implement, either in terms of executable software or also in terms of necessary organizational changes.

About Building
Blocks and Colors

The building blocks of Storystorming are inspired by Alberto Brandolini’s EventStorming and consciously try to go in sync with the existing concepts. Storystorming differs, however, in the points where it seems useful in order to be a little more independent of architectural patterns such as ES/CQRS. This makes it easier for practitioners who work in very different contexts to use the colors - without harming the others. In addition, the colors can be easier reused for several different modeling techniques.

So what are the building blocks and colors Storystorming uses?

Storystorming emphasizes the guiding principle of Behavior-Driven Development: it is the behavior (lilac) of different actors - be it (dark yellow) humans or (pink) machines and components - that is at the heart of our analysis, and not the structure of any kind.

In addition - in line with Domain-Driven Design (and again: Behavior Driven Development) - Storystorming examines the language with which the actors interact with one another. A distinction is made between exactly four types of messages, which can be semantically traced back to the four grammatical sentence types in our languages. These types are commands (blue), questions (light green), statements (dark green) and, last but not least, notifications about events (orange). Such event notifications capture and represent relevant changes that would be difficult or impossible to observe without an explicit notification. Therefore, event notifications are a pattern that is semantically very similar to how humans use exclamations.

These seven central colors (purple, dark yellow and pink for the actors and their behavior as well as blue, orange and light or dark green for the language they use) are supplemented by two other colors that are practical for analysis and planning: one for the considered or planned work packages and deliverables (light yellow) and one for all aspects that are still poorly understood and therefore require further attention (magenta).

Click on the stickies to see further descriptions!

Hover over the stickies to see further descriptions!

Human (or Group)
Dark Yellow
Human (or Group)

With dark yellow sticky notes, we visualize a person or a group like e.g. organisational units or specific users. We may want to use specific names or work with more generic roles.

Command (or Activity)
Blue
Command (or Activity)

With blue sticky notes we visualize sentences in which some actor (human or machine) is being told to do something. Bit fuzzy, we use it to describe the activity carried out.

Machine (or Component)
Pink
Machine (or Component)

With pink sticky notes, we visualize a machine or its components like e.g. services, modules or entities in terms of software or e.g. a car in terms of other machines or hardware.

Question (or Search)
Light Green
Question (or Search)

With light green sticky notes we visualize sentences in which some actor (human or machine) is asked for information. We often refer to questions as being queries or searches.

Behavior (or Decision)
Lilac
Behavior (or Decision)

With a lilac sticky note we describe the more concrete behavior of an actor (a human or a machine/component), in particular what influences the decisions to be made.

Statement (or Object)
Dark Green
Statement (or Object)

With dark green sticky notes we visualize sentences in which some actor (human or machine) provides existing facts or perceptions, often in a form of documents or objects.

Attention (or Uncertainty)
Magenta
Attention (or Uncertainty)

With a magenta sticky note we highlight all kinds of different things that require further attention or things that still seem to be unclear and hence need to be clarified later.

Event (or Exception)
Orange
Event (or Exception)

With an orange sticky note, we visualize something that has happened, be it a reaction to a command or not, be it a (desired) material change or a (less fortunate) exception.

Deliverable (or Proposal)
Light Yellow
Deliverable (or Proposal)

With light yellow sticky notes, we record results we propose or want to implement, either in terms of executable software or also in terms of necessary organizational changes.

Inside the Storystorming Toolbox

Stefan Hofer’s and Henning Schwentner’s Domain Storytelling leverages the most natural way to learn a language: listen, imitate and start to speak the language yourself. Little children repeat what they have heard and receive feedback. Gradually, they understand more than words, begin to form sentences and later tell complete stories. In Domain Storytelling, we listen to domain experts as they talk about their work and use their language. We enable them to record their sentences with a very simple system. They form stories out of visualized sentences and after a few stories we already know many of the persons, activities and objects of the domain!

Learn more about Domain Storytelling in a context of Storystorming?

Read the blog post

Alberto Brandolini’s EventStorming is a flexible and adaptive workshop format for collaborative exploration of complex business domains. It comes in different flavours to understand the bigger picture of your domain, to explore complex domains across organizational boundaries or to inspect and adapt software behavior in greater detail as needed for mission critical processes.

The colors and building blocks of Storystorming (see above) are strongly inspired by EventStorming and carefully coordinated with its existing concepts and colors. Storystorming generalizes the building blocks a bit in order to use them in a neutral manner across several methods.

Jeff Patton’s User Story Mapping is a pretty simple idea, but with a huge impact on the effectiveness of product backlogs, team meetings, and release planning. Based on a user journey through a product or on the basis of a larger business process, the big picture of many requirements can be clearly presented and understood. This way we can prioritize in a much more meaningful way, because the customer focus is always maintained, the users and the way they use our product are visible and at the center of all our considerations.

It’s pretty „easy“ to get bogged down in creative processes or even completely lost. But our products and projects do not exist in a vacuum: we are surrounded by people, other projects, our organization and a larger society. Gojko Adzic’ Impact Mapping guide us through a dynamic process of iterative decision-making, placing different deliverables in the context of their perceived impact on key stakeholders. Impact maps help us to ultimately achieve the expected and hoped-for business results by constantly responding to changes on the move, „grounding“ our plans, adapting them to reality.

Attention 🔥 Risk of addiction


Visual modeling methods like Storystorming are easy to grasp and may easily turn difficult discussions into fruitful collaboration! Quick and unexpectedly good meeting results may substantially increase the pleasure of working in cross-functional teams! Collaborative modeling may quickly become an unconscious and indispensable habit! 😉

Becoming Storystorming


Since ~2000 until today

Agile Manifesto

The agile software development movement promotes to analyze requirements and develop solutions through a process of intensive collaboration of self-organizing and cross-functional teams with their customers and users. Storystorming embraces collaboration and supports it with a suitable set of interlinked methods.

Since ~2004 until today

Domain-Driven Design

Since Eric Evans released his “Domain-Driven Design” (DDD), an ever-growing community has been developing software for complex domains by combining its implementation with a constantly evolving model aligned to core business concepts. Inspired by DDD, Storystorming leverages the power of (ubiquitous) language and collaborative modeling.

Since ~2008 until today

Behavior-Driven Development

Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) is an agile practice encouraging collaboration among developers and non-technical business participants to develop a shared understanding of how the application should behave. Storystorming embraces the focus on behavior as well as the use of concrete examples to model it.

Since ~2013 until today

EventStorming

EventStorming is a workshop method to collaboratively describe coarse- or fine-grained business processes in the form of colored sticky notes on a wide wall starting from a series of domain events. Heavily inspired by EventStorming, Storystorming generalizes its colors in order to use them in a pattern neutral manner across several methods.

Hands-On Storystorming

Storystorming is done with colored sticky notes and is of course perfectly suited for hands-on workshops. But you can also it for the “small” opportunities to faciliate a discussion. Just grab the box with the sticky notes and start to visualize the scenario you are talking about!

While it doesn’t always have to be a well-planned workshop, you can of course achieve a lot more by preparing particular workshops really well, e.g. when you plan to invite busy people to collaborate across remote organisational boundaries. This can make much sense to kick off a project and to explore the big picture of your endavour.

Remote Storystorming

Some of us like it, some don’t. In any case, it is a 21st century reality that we do not always have the opportunity to work face-to-face together. Some team members may be in their home office, while others are permanently co-located with a remote team. The good news is that there are very good tools these days that can be used to remotely conduct Storystorming.

Here are some of the advantages: for example, consider the unlimited modeling space you have on a virtual whiteboard like the collaborative online whiteboard platform Miro! You will find it much easier to adjust your models, move things around, make space between what you already have, copy / paste an alternate scenario and continue your work in the next session.

Interested in learning more?

plexiti is a company offering trainings, workshops and consulting in the context of Domain-Driven Design, Storystorming and Business Process Modeling.

CoMoCamp is a community unconference reaching out to bring practitioners of collaborative modeling methods together with their creators and thought leaders.