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  • Writer's pictureNikolaus Varzakaos

How we used Event Storming to improve a PIM process

In a recent project we worked with one of our clients, a successful e-commerce company, to facilitate several event storming workshops to identify improvement opportunities in their product information management process (PIM Process). The client manages almost one million SKUs that they import and constantly update from dozens of different suppliers.

In general our client wanted to look at ways to:

  • decrease time to market for new products

  • improve the quality of the product information

  • improve internal work processes

When new products are added to the online store, the product information must be improved and reviewed in a number of steps before the information can be published online. Example of steps are:

  • Product data retrieved from suppliers

  • Data verified for minimum requirements

  • Data transformed to a common structure

  • Data enriched with additional product information, such as images, videos, marketing copy, size charts, supplier information, etc.

Some stages were already partly automated and one goal was to find opportunities to increase the level of automation. In every step of the PIM process, different teams or individuals are responsible for the outcome. Example of roles involved:

  • Data Manager

  • The Content Integration Specialist team

  • The Content Production Specialist team

Event Storming is a great tool to use when we are faced with business problems that involve multiple sequential work steps and multiple individuals or teams. It works very well for bringing domain experts and engineers together to learn from each other.

PIM (Product Information Management) usually means that we have a repeating work process where “flow units” (in this case the product information) move from stage to stage and from team to team. It is a tricky challenge to organise a large scale PIM process with the highest degree of efficiency. Luckily Event Storming comes to our help.

We planned a series of Event Storming workshops with around 10 participants from various departments. We prepared a blank Event Storming workflow in Qlerify and adapted the notation to what we knew about the situation. We configured the tool with card types for Systems, Problems/Issues and Comments.

Just like we have experienced many times before, Event Storming quickly engaged the participants and got people involved. Discussions became very productive and precise as we were able to map out and document all the domain events and all the roles in real-time while talking and discussing problems and improvements.

After only one hour we had captured the main flow and could start digging into sub workflows. After another hour we could summarise the results and prioritise the most important problems to solve in upcoming workshops.

Normally, this kind of process analysis takes weeks to carry out. Thanks to Event Storming and the Qlerify platform we managed to achieve the desired results in a few working days compared to weeks, saving 80% of the time! Communication between departments was also improved. Before we applied Event Storming, people were talking past each other and had different mental images of the organization. By applying Event Storming, you create a common understanding of how the organization works and what improvements should be made.

Once again Event Storming proved itself as an amazing tool to spark a meaningful conversation and map out work processes. Event Storming puts everyone in the team on the same page and is a massive learning experience for all participants.

Get in touch if you would like to know more about Event Storming!

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