As businesses grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage complex processes and identify issues that may be affecting the organization's overall performance. Event Storming is a technique that can help businesses gain a better understanding of their processes, and identify opportunities for improvement. In particular, Big Picture session is a useful tool in Event Storming that provides a visual representation of the entire business process.
In this article, I will explore how Big Picture can help you improve your business processes, identify bottlenecks in your operations and how you can implement it effectively. I will also provide benefits of Event Storming, including communication and collaboration improvements and making more informed decisions. In my previous article you could find information on how Event Storming as a whole technique can improve your business. Now, I will focus on the Big Picture session as its one core technique in more detail.
Table of Contents
What is Event Storming?
Before going into details, let’s recall what Event Storming is. So, it is a workshop-based technique that was developed by Alberto Brandolini, an Italian software engineer. It's a collaborative process that involves bringing together people from different parts of the organization to map out the entire business process. The goal of Event Storming is to create a shared understanding of how the process works, and to identify areas where improvements can be made.
What is Big Picture Event Storming?
Big Picture is a key component of Event Storming, a technique used for collaborative exploration and discovery of complex business domains. At its core, it is a way to create high-level visual representation of the entire business process. It involves breaking down a complex process into smaller, more manageable steps and representing them in a logical sequence on a wall or whiteboard using sticky notes, markers, or other visual aids, including digital collaboration tools.
The purpose of Big Picture is to give participants a broad overview of the process, to create a shared understanding of the process among all participants. By creating a visual representation of the entire business, Big Picture session can help to identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and other issues that may be affecting the process.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at what the Big Picture is, how it works, and how it can be used to improve your business processes.
How Does Big Picture Event Storming Work?
Big Picture session typically involves a group of people working together in a collaborative session. It relates to all stakeholders, including team members who are involved in the process, as well as managers, subject matter experts, and other stakeholders who may have an interest in the outcome.
The facilitator of the session guides the participants through the process of creating the process map. They may provide prompts or questions to help guide the discussion and keep the group focused on the task at hand.
Participants use sticky notes to capture information about the process, including the steps involved, the events that occur at each step, and any pain points or inefficiencies in the process. Once all the information has been captured, the facilitator works with the group to organize the sticky notes into a logical sequence on the wall or whiteboard.
The resulting process map is a visual representation of the business process that can be used to identify areas for improvement. By analyzing the map, stakeholders can identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies, and develop a plan to address them.
Benefits of Big Picture Session
Big Picture mapping offers several benefits to businesses that use it. First and foremost, it can help to create a shared understanding of a complex process among all stakeholders. By working together to create the process map, stakeholders can gain a better understanding of the process, and identify areas where improvements can be made.
Big Picture can also help to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the process. By creating a visual representation of the process, stakeholders can see where delays and other issues are occurring, and develop a plan to address them.
Finally, Big Picture can help to improve communication and collaboration among team members. By working together in a collaborative session, team members can build trust and develop a shared sense of purpose.
Big Picture mapping is a powerful tool for businesses looking to gain a better understanding of their processes and identify areas for improvement. By breaking down complex processes into smaller, more manageable steps, and creating a visual representation of the process, stakeholders can identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and other issues, and develop a plan to address them. With the benefits of Big Picture session outlined in this article, businesses can start incorporating this tool into their process improvement efforts and drive success.
How to Implement Big Picture Event Storming
Implementing Big Picture mapping in your business involves several steps. Here's a step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Plan and Prepare for the Session
The first step in implementing Big Picture mapping is to plan and prepare for the session. This involves identifying the participants who will be involved, booking a suitable location, and setting a date and time for the session. It's very important to ensure that all key stakeholders are included, including team members who are involved in the process, as well as managers, subject matter experts, and other stakeholders who may have an interest in the outcome.
When planning the session, consider the logistics of the space you'll be using. You'll need a large enough space to accommodate the entire team, and a wall or whiteboard where you can display the process map. Make sure you have all the materials you'll need, such as sticky notes, markers, and any digital tools you plan to use. If you plan to organize the Big Picture workshops remotely, please check my previous article on how to run an online Event Storming session.
Step 2: Define the Business Process
The next step is to define the business process that you want to map out. This could be anything from a customer journey to a manufacturing process. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the process before you begin. This may involve conducting research, gathering data, and talking to team members who are involved in the process Once you've defined the process, break it down into smaller steps that can be easily mapped out. This will help ensure that the mapping session is manageable and doesn't become overwhelming.
Step 3: Conduct the Session
During the Big Picture session, participants work together to map out the entire business process. This involves identifying the different steps in the process, and the events that occur at each step. Participants use sticky notes to capture information, and place them on the whiteboard or digital tool in a logical sequence.
It's important to encourage participation from all team members and create an environment where everyone feels comfortable contributing their ideas. Keep the discussion focused on the business process being mapped out, and avoid getting sidetracked by unrelated issues.
To help guide the discussion, you may want to use prompts or questions to elicit information from participants. For example, you could ask:
- What are the key steps in the process?
- What events trigger each step in the process?
- What information is needed at each step?
- What are the pain points in the process?
Here you can find guidance on how to run your first Event Storming session.
Step 4: Analyze the Results
Once the Big Picture session is complete, it's important to analyze the results. This involves reviewing the process map, and identifying areas where improvements can be made. Look for bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and other issues that may be affecting the process. Once you've identified the issues, prioritize them based on their impact on the process, and develop a plan to address them.
It's important to share the results of the Big Picture mapping session with all stakeholders, and to involve them in the development of the improvement plan. This will help ensure buy-in and support for the changes that will be made.
In conclusion, implementing Big Picture in your business can be a powerful tool for gaining a better understanding of your processes, and identifying areas for improvement. By following the steps outlined above, you can successfully implement Big Picture mapping in your organization and drive success.
Tips for Successful Big Picture Session
Big Picture mapping can be an incredibly effective tool for improving business processes, but it requires careful planning and execution to be successful. Here are some tips to help ensure your Big Picture session is productive and to help you get the most out of your Big Picture mapping sessions:
1. Define the scope
Before you start your Big Picture session, it's important to define the scope of the process you're mapping. Be clear about what you want to achieve and what you hope to gain from the exercise. This will help ensure that everyone involved in the session is focused and working towards the same goals.
2. Identify and Invite the Right Participants
It's important to invite the right people to the mapping session, so it must be a diverse group of stakeholders. This includes anyone who is involved in the process, as well as stakeholders who may have an interest in the outcome. Make sure everyone involved in the session understands their role and is committed to participating fully. Ideally, you should have 6-8 people with the right mixture of the ones who know the questions to ask and who are curious to listen to the answers and the ones who actually know the answers.
3. Create a Collaborative Environment
Encourage participation from all team members and create an environment where everyone feels comfortable contributing their ideas. It is extremely important to provide unlimited modeling space - it can be either a wide wall for sticky notes or a very long piece of paper and a relaxed atmosphere.
4. Set clear guidelines
To keep the session focused and productive, it's important to establish clear guidelines for how the process will be mapped. This might include rules around how information is captured on sticky notes, how ideas are shared, and how decisions are made.
5. Stay Focused on the Business Process
Make sure the discussion stays focused on the business process being mapped out. Avoid getting sidetracked by unrelated issues. It is good to make extra effort to engage all the attendees. The facilitator needs to put special attention to that since it is easy for participants to distract and disengage during the long workshop.
6. Use a facilitator
A facilitator can be a valuable asset during a Big Picture session. They can help keep the session on track, guide the discussion, and ensure that everyone has an opportunity to contribute. If possible, consider hiring an external facilitator who can bring a fresh perspective to the session.
7. Embrace iteration
The first iteration of your Big Picture map is unlikely to be perfect, and that's okay. Use the initial map as a starting point and iterate on it as you gather feedback and new information. The goal is to create a map that accurately represents the process and identifies areas for improvement.
8. Focus on outcomes
The ultimate goal of Big Picture Event Storming is to improve business processes, so make sure you're focused on outcomes throughout the session. Use the insights gathered during the mapping exercise to identify specific actions that can be taken to improve the process. Use the mapping results to drive improvements in the process. Prioritize the issues identified during the Big Picture session, and develop a plan to address them.
9. Follow up
After your Big Picture mapping session is complete, make sure to follow up with stakeholders to ensure that the insights gathered are put into action. Develop a plan for implementing changes and track progress towards your goals.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your Big Picture session is productive, engaging, and leads to meaningful improvements in your business processes.
Big Picture mapping is a powerful tool in Event Storming that can help businesses gain a better understanding of their processes, and identify areas for improvement. By implementing Big Picture, businesses can create a shared understanding of their processes, and identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies that may be affecting their overall performance. With the tips outlined in this article, businesses can start implementing Big Picture mapping in their organizations to improve their business processes and drive success.