EventStorming; Continuous discovery beyond software modelling

Moving towards a microservices architecture

We see a lot of companies are moving towards a microservice architecture. The big pitfall of microservices architecture is to focus on the technology, how big the microservice needs to be, how many lines of codes, what entities do we put in a microservice, and using rest as the communication between them. But to succeed we need to focus on the problem space, by crunching domain knowledge and do domain modelling. EventStorming is a perfect fit for domain modelling, and almost all the microservices leaders seem to agree. Even ThoughtWorks finally put EventStorming on ‘adopt’ in their most recent rendition of their technology radar. But EventStorming has grown to be more than just a tool for domain modelling and to be successful and create autonomous teams you need to use EventStorming for more than only domain modelling.

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EventStorming and how to monitor Domain Events for product management

We design, model, and create software to solve a problem for our customer (this can also be a customer from within the same company). Only when we do so, we focus naturally on solving the happy path and want to deliver that value as soon as possible. The only problem here is that we will always come to a point where we get corner cases or business exceptions, and the question starts to arise, what shall we do? Is it worth the effort to invest in building a solution for this, or can we leave this function out of the system because it is not worth it? To answer these question, we want, if possible, feedback from the system to know this. We can quickly get this feedback making it explicit in the form of a Domain Event during our EventStorming and start monitoring it. This way we can leave the options open until we know what to do.

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Crossing the bounded context, events-first, the REST is not needed

Technical design decision can have a severe impact on companies their communication structure. Conway’s law explains; “Any organization that designs a system (defined more broadly here than just information systems) will inevitably produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization’s communication structure.” Such is the story also with a microservices architecture. A lot of companies decide to use REST to communicate between bounded contexts and or services. What can happens is that the services in the bounded context now get dependent on each other. The dependency on finishing a service their process will resolve in cascading failures if a service is down. Cascading failures will reflect on the way organizations communicate between teams. Teams now rely on each other before finishing their process. Dependency between teams can severely disrupt the company to respond better to the fast-changing demands of customers; companies get more entangled than before. To combat getting cascading failures, we must follow the communication structure of the business. We can do this by using Event Storming and going events-first.

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Combining Domain Driven Design and Behaviour Driven Development

In my previous post, I discussed why we want to write software with empathy in mind; software that is understandable for peers. For us to create software with empathy in mind, we need to create a shared understanding of the users’ needs; the needs we are trying to satisfy with our software. Practices like Domain Driven Design (DDD) and Behaviour Driven Development (BDD) can help us achieve this. By using Feature Mapping (a technique from BDD) and improving this with Event Storming (a technique from DDD), we can create executable specifications and a model for our business needs at the same time. This way, we can write software and tests that match the shared understanding the business has, which enables us to ship more value faster.

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An Ubiquitous Domain language throughout testing

One of the biggest challenges as engineers is to write working software and also keep an extensive documentation. Most engineers hate writing documentation, and after they published documentation on a wiki it will die a lonely death. We want to strive for writing a Living Documentation in an Ubiquitous Language. Practices like Domain Driven Design (DDD) and Behaviour Driven Development (BDD) can help you achieve this. Especially when we start writing code, it is really important for the quality of our software to start with tests describing what your application does. We want to write software with empathy in mind, software that is understandable for peers. While software developers are beginning to use the language of the domain (business language) more in their application code, most tests still contain a lot of technical language.

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Be carefull using UI Designs as a visual during your BDD refinements

 

The practise of Behaviour Driven Development (BDD), and using tooling to support this like cucumber, has inspired many posts and talks. The recurring questions are predominantly about how teams and people pull these tools out of its collaboration context, and bring it into the test automation context. Cucumber’s post might perhaps be one of the best on this topic,

Last year I started giving talks about BDD based on my own experiences. One pitfall that always seems to pop up, at least in the Netherlands, is about imperative versus declarative (or implementation vs intention).

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