Discovery with Big Picture Event Storming

Product Managers, Tech Leads, Designers, Directors, or C-level Executives responsible for the shape of business processes.
Participants: Product Managers, Tech Leads, Designers, Directors, or C-level Executives responsible for the shape of business processes.
Phase: Discovery
Outcome: Aligned teams and shared understanding of objectives, key results, and a high view of business processes, risks & assumptions.

The outcome from Big Picture Event Storming workshop later can be used to:

  • Proceed with 'Process Event Storming' - useful when there is a maze of processes. Allows to drill into the processes and see the relationships between them.

  • Proceed with 'User Story Mapping' or 'Customer Journey Mapping' - useful for Product Managers or UX Designers; to drill user experience.

  • Proceed with 'Event Modeling' - as the ultimate glue between Discovery and Delivery.

Let's see a real-world example

Arthur owns a welding company. More than a hundred welders work there. He wants to scale his business. So he began describing how work looks, whereas we started visualizing it immediately on a board and asking questions.

As is now

He tells us: "There are problems with the work efficiency. The first one is when a welder sets up the welding carriage. He would observe it until the welding had finished. Second, there are situations where the welder walks away. I don't know how much time he spends on real work vs. smoking or chatting."

Immediately lots of questions pop out:

  • A welding carriage? What is it?

  • So only one welder can work on one welding carriage simultaneously? After a welder sets up one, can he set up another? Why not?

  • Why does a welder need to take care of only one carriage?

  • What is the reason for a welder to stop welding?

  • How long can a welder weld in one row?

  • What metric would indicate that you have scaled your business in the context of this particular welding process?

Here is the visualized representation of questions and answers:

Next Goal

After just 15min of talking and drawing, we got to the core. Unfortunately, the welder cannot set up another carriage because they need to ensure the weld's quality. If only we could automate this detection and turn the carriage off automatically.

So we have defined the problem, and now we must find the best-fit staged solutions. There might be a few solutions or one, but with many variants. As it was straightforward, it was the latter. Next, we had to focus on shaping the scope and stages, so we evolved to more detailed variants:

Events in order

Having the visual representation of the processes helps us proceed with further discussions:

  • What minimal capabilities would yield the highest business value? What value would that be?

  • What part has the highest risk?

  • How could we lower the risk? What experiments should we conduct?

  • Can we estimate the cost? What could lead us to cost estimation?


We found some easy-to-spot potential problems and put them onto the board as hotspots:

  • If no network connection is available, we cannot broadcast video and send data from sensors.

  • If the machine doesn't react to the stopping signal immediately, it may cause damage to the welded element.

When we had everything on the board, we tried to assess the risk:

  1. Can we build an affordable camera that can observe welding (feasibility risk-1, viability risk-1)

  2. Can we build a monitoring device that records working/welding time? (feasibility risk-2)

  3. Can we build a device that enables remote control of the welding tractor (feasibility risk-3)

  4. Can a human operator recognize the bad weld and turn the machine off easily? (usability risk-1)

  5. Can a welder setup a monitoring device easily enough (usability risk-2)

  6. Can one welder operate on more than one welding tractor simultaneously? (business value)

Given we know our competencies, each risk was then evaluated in terms of probability and importance. Finally, we added a time constraint. We wanted to learn and decrease the risk as much as possible.

The result:

  • We brainstormed lots of variants and stages. We could easily spot opportunities.

  • We had shared understanding with the Stakeholder.

  • We had a list of actions - a plan for the following weeks of work.

There were a lot of articles on how to execute Big Picture Event Storming:

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