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Event Storming - Who's Invited and Why?


25 Apr 2024 | Michał Szkudlarek

Event Storming. Everyone is talking about it, but do not mistake it for just another corporate buzzword. Properly leveraged, it can unlock new perspectives and solve all sorts of challenges (and not just IT ones)!  

In brief, Event Storming is a collaborative approach to breaking apart and better understanding complex domains – conducted as a group exercise – with the group made up of experts playing several roles: those asking questions and providing answers and a facilitator. The group will be multi-disciplined and, as a sum of its parts, will have a lot of knowledge, vision, and skills. This can help to identify and solve problems, needs, pain points, and opportunities.  

In this article, we will look at who might be invited to participate in Event Storming, and why they are joining the party.  

You can view other articles in this series here:  


My Way or the Highway?  

Let us provide a caveat: Event Storming is flexible and is not carved in stone. You can expand and manipulate Event Storming frameworks to suit your needs and what is provided here is our view as an Application Modernization company operating in IT. The best process and stakeholders for a financial organization or retailer may look a little different.  


So, Who Is Invited? 

Typically, those invited to participate in Event Storming are individuals with a deep understanding of the business domain and the system being designed (or the challenge being discussed).  

This may include subject matter experts, Product Owners, Business Analysts, Architects, Developers, and other stakeholders who can contribute to the design process. The specifics of who you will want to invite may vary depending on the project, but those invited will always have to be connected in some way – even remotely.  

To help visualise this, reference our stakeholder map and consider the different powers and interests they bring to the table.  


Blog - Event Storming Diag 1


Beware of inviting different levels of seniority and consider your company culture. In some organizations, nobody will debate with “the manager of their manager” and this may hinder the value of the event-storming process. If this is the case, consider separate broken-down sessions so that everyone involved feels confident in championing their knowledge, insight, and perspective. 

Remember that it is important to invite individuals who have a broad understanding of the business domain, can contribute to the high-level design process, and can provide valuable insight into overall business strategy and goals.  

Inviting individuals from different departments and teams may be helpful – a diverse group can help ensure all perspectives are considered and that final designs align across the organization’s goals and objectives.


Blog - Event Storming Diag 2


Key Players, and Why You Need Them. 

We have established that diversity is a boon, but here are some of the key figures you ought to involve in your Event Storming process and why they should be included. 


  • Facilitators: The role of the Facilitator(s) is to oversee, manage, and guide the collaborative processes between stakeholders. They help Event Storming sessions to run smoothly, manage any conflicts, and ensure every other stakeholder has an opportunity to provide input. They are responsible for ensuring the environment is conducive to productivity and collaboration and they know the ins-and-outs of Event Storming.
  • Subject Matter Experts (SMEs): Individuals with knowledge of particular areas of the business domain. They provide insight into specific processes or systems and can help identify key pain points, business processes, and opportunities for improvement or optimization.
    Inviting SMEs from different departments helps to align cross-department communication and unlocks different perspectives, helping individuals to learn holistically about products, domains and processes from their colleagues and peers. For example: Alice adds a sticker highlighting the usefulness of the AI text search tool her team have been using to return relevant results rapidly. This surprises Steve – another SME – his team have been conducting these searches manually through thousands of possible results and was unaware such a supporting tool was available.
  • Product Owners: Responsible for defining and prioritising product features and functionality, Product Owners ensure the final design aligns with the organisation’s goals, objectives, and the end user’s needs. They can identify key features and functionality that will drive business value and, in an Event Storming session they will usually act as SMEs for the products and systems they have built.
  • Business Analysts: With deep insight into business processes, Business Analysts bridge the gap between technical teams and business stakeholders and can validate the perspectives of others. They may function differently depending on your organization; sometimes operating as Product Owners, or a PO is doing the same work, or is even the same person! If that is the case, there is no need for both to attend a session.
  • Architects: In an Event Storming session, Architects would be invited to ensure the final design is scalable, maintainable and meets the organization’s technical requirements and goals. They are also to assess the ideas added to the board for feasibility, provide details on potential hot spots, and identify domains. They are essential in Event Storming when a new/old system is being discussed/designed.
  • Stakeholders: Individuals with a vested interest in the success of the project. Their primary role is likely to be ensuring that the design aligns with the organization’s goals and objectives. They are ideally placed to provide insights into business strategy and goals relevant to the project and can see the “bigger picture” than others.
  • Developers and QA Engineers: Responsible for implementing and testing the design, they will support architects but may have a more detailed view in some areas. With a “ground floor” view of development, they may provide many “what if?” questions, focussing on things that are difficult, impossible, or contradicting!
  • Designers: Concerned with creating the visual and user experience of the product, they will be on hand to ensure the product is aesthetically pleasing and easy to use for (internal and external) customers. Although they may not be contributing a lot in some Event Storming sessions, they tend to be highly creative and will bring many ideas to the table throughout the Event Storming process. Importantly, they will also gain knowledge and perspective for when they start their own design sessions – they will not need to rediscover things.
  • Users: Whether internal or external, users will be the ones using the final product or system. They can supply valuable insights about what usability and functionality is most beneficial to them (and it is likely you will want to listen)! They will explain how they will use a system, what they are used to, what they like and do not like. This “market research” can be invaluable, especially with such insights captured at an early design phase, prior to investing development resources. Furthermore, users can collaborate with SME’s and offer up ideas of their own or uncover realizations about the way users are already working. For example: A user, David, takes part in an Event Storming session and explains how he currently uses a system and expects it to function. This is met with shock from other SMEs in the product team who dropped support for (and decommissioned) that process some years previous! Thanks to this insight, a frank discussion can be had to establish how David is still working this way and whether its support should continue.  


Do not be afraid to switch it up! Not everyone here is needed in every Event Storming session, and there may be other individuals you can see value in inviting instead. You may wish to run a Big Picture Event Storm and take the output of such a session into smaller, more detailed sessions with a select group of participants who can work more efficiently on that area. 


Time to Cook up a Storm! 

Here we have outlined some of those you might invite to an Event Storming session and the parts they play. Conducted properly, with the right people involved and properly aligned, it is a valuable tool in IT, where we use it often for application modernisation projects, and elsewhere in the business world.  

We will have more to say on running a successful Event Storming session, so keep an eye open for future articles.