Scenario Casting is a collaborative tool for structuring and driving software development projects - based on domain expertise - expressed in scenarios.
Scenario Casting is especially helpful for getting a handle on complex or even overwhelming domains. If your domain feels like this and there are a lot of people involved too, you should give Scenario Casting a try.

What is a Scenario?

Telling the story of a scenario is like traveling: make sure you hit all the points of interest, be open to discoveries, and get ideas for future trips. Scenario Casting is like planning the next trip.
A scenario is an outline of some interesting situation that implies a certain outcome, e.g. "Ada orders a calzone pizza". It's as simple as that.
A scenario is described from domain perspective in pure domain language. It is concrete, detailed and distinctive. It's bursting with concrete information about the domain needed to design a perfect solution for this type of situation in your business - but it does NOT prescribe a specific solution!
Find scenarios by looking for examples that show, from a domain perspective, why your ideas, questions, and concerns - or other points of interest - are relevant.
Is one type of pizza box enough for our business?
Ada orders
1 calzone pizza,
1 pizza Napoletana,
and 2 kids' pizzas.
Point of interest
Example scenario
The more complex your project, the more diverse the points of interest. The corresponding example scenarios make them compatible with each other and help to get everyone on the same page!
Customize, split and merge those scenarios to focus on the things that are most relevant at the moment.
Use scenarios for targeted knowledge crunching: to explore the purpose and mechanisms of business processes, to uncover dependencies and pitfalls, to drill down into detail without getting lost.
As a developer, you know that every realistic scenario will sooner or later become reality. So, it's all about choosing the right scenarios to create solutions that are up to any challenge! Scenario Casting will help you find them step by step.

Scenario Casting - the Workshop Format

See video here:
Scenario casting allows you to cast a wide variety of ideas, questions and concerns into a small set of very meaningful scenarios that shed light on the domain. These scenarios set a focus for all teams and enable them to pull together.
Scenario Casting is done collaboratively in three iterative steps:
  1. Brainstorm example scenarios of how individual ideas, questions and concerns affect the domain - strictly in domain language! This provides an initial Scenario Backlog outlining the problem space.
  2. Prioritize the Scenario Backlog and agree on scope.
  3. Combine the top scenarios into coherent overarching Orientation Scenarios.
Then flesh out and tell the stories of the Orientation Scenarios in collaborative modeling sessions using     Domain Storytelling or Event Storming.
After these steps, the Orientation Scenarios set the overall team goal for the next few sprints: Bring the Orientation Scenarios to life! It's a self-contained “mini-project” that makes sense from domain perspective - and also covers all the relevant points of interest that we agreed on.
Teams focus on their individual parts of the Orientation Scenarios and develop solutions for those. Finally, their results are integrated, tested, and signed-off according to the Orientation Scenarios.
Then start over with a new Scenario Casting.

The Artifacts

A Scenario Backlog helps to ensure that all relevant points are addressed step by step.
New relevant scenarios are constantly being discovered, especially during collaborative modeling sessions, coding, testing and using the software. They all go into the Scenario Backlog and will be considered in future Scenario Castings. This helps you to control your project in the long run without having to commit to solution ideas too early.
The Scenario Backlog is a living object. Unlike other concepts that try to scale agile, the Scenario Backlog is strictly limited to domain perspective, thus avoiding upfront design and premature planning. Instead, Scenario Casting helps to set a cross-team focus within problem space by defining Orientation Scenarios based on the Scenario Backlog.
An Orientation Scenario illuminates the problem space. It outlines the main intentions of the actors involved and describes minor and major results that are achieved along an exemplary business process.
By identifying the sub-processes that lead to these results you can identify your domain's subdomains, shape out the individual missions of those subdomains, and determine the people who should be involved.
New Orientation Scenarios are compiled from the current top priority scenarios of the Scenario Backlog. There is often a causal relationship between scenarios. We make this clear by putting those together. At the same time, many small scenarios become one coherent Orientation Scenario that everyone knows!
An Orientation Scenario does not prescribe any specific solutions! Thus, it remains the task of the individual teams to find and develop solutions in good old team-owned unscaled agile processes - embedded in a cross-team agile process based on problem space! This makes it possible to scale agile without actually scaling the individual team's own agile processes. No agile team should be burdened with cross-team planning efforts of their tasks over long, non-agile planning horizons.

The Background

Scenario Casting is an agile and collaborative tool based on Domain-driven Design (DDD).
The first Scenario Casting was carried out ad hoc in 2018 – driven by the need to event-storm the most relevant scenarios possible with a large group of experts in a very limited time frame. Since then, countless hours of intensive workshops involving dozens of teams have crafted the method into its current form.
Jörn Koch is enthusiastic about ambitious and highly cooperative projects in complex domains. He sees agile approaches and DDD as the keys to successful software development - keys that can be hard to turn, though. Therefore, Jörn is always on the lookout for lightweight and elegant solutions that make this easier for everyone. Scenario Casting is one such solution.
Jörn works as a coach and trainer at WPS – Workplace Solutions.

Get started with Scenario Casting

Are you considering using Scenario Casting in your project?
We are happy to facilitate & moderate Scenario Casting workshops. And we enable you to take it from there.
Let's talk about how you get the most out of Scenario Casting at the current stage of your project.
Get in touch ✉ here
If you are already a Scenario Casting practitioner, please don't hesitate to send your questions and feedback!

Get a Training

Would you like to learn how to use Scenario Casting in your organization?
The training shows you how to use Scenario Casting to
The training consists of collaborative practical exercises and explained theory (including DDD and agile approaches). It is specifically designed to involve everyone in your project: domain experts, BAs, POs, agile masters, testers, UX designers, developers, etc.
Although the training is about software development, no programming skills are required!
The training is available in English / German, online / on-site.
Request training offer ✉ here
WPS – Workplace Solutions is the official organizer of the Scenario Casting training.
Don't forget to check out the other trainings offered by WPS.
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