Deep Listening with Domain Storytelling

Mufrid Krilic
3 min readFeb 3, 2020

Two years ago at Domain-Driven Design Europe 2018 conference Domain Storytelling was introduced to a wider audience by Stefan Hofer and Henning Schwentner. Since then we are observing increased traction and interest in this knowledge crunching technique that helps people learn domain language and increase collaboration between software development team and domain experts.

At my company we have a group of practitioners that enjoy experimenting with various facilitation techniques both for workshops with many participants and for plain meetings. The range of techniques employed include Open Space, Lean Coffee, Impact Mapping, Event Storming etc. The goal we share is to facilitate decision-making process for a group of people involved, within the available time-span for a workshop or a meeting. Given a wide variety of workshop formats, mixture of participants and topics covered we are always glad to be introduced to a new facilitation technique hence giving us a new tool in the facilitator’s toolkit.

This post is about overall experiences harvested while facilitating Domain Storytelling workshops.

Image from under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

The mechanics of Domain Storytelling are well described at the website and in a recently published book on LeanPub by Stefan and Henning. For videos you can check out a short talk of mine.

For the purpose of this post, the process can be summarized by having a facilitator running a workshop where the team listens to the domain experts explaining the way they work. The facilitator asks domain experts to use short examples from their business and each example is recorded as a Domain Story and visualized on a whiteboard. Each story is concluded by the facilitator repeating the story while traversing the whiteboard and getting confirmation on whether or not the team had comprehended the story correctly.

Our first attempts at running Domain Storytelling workshop were at the prescribed format. The immediate response was almost without exception positive from every participant with special emphasis on how the technique keeps the flow of the workshop focused on the main topic, while the visualized Domain Stories help everybody get involved.

Later on, we raised the bar by running a day-long workshop having domain experts from many departments and with different expertise. Again it was an amazing experience and Domain Storytelling help the team learn a lot during that day. Additional benefits observed were that the format of Domain Storytelling is particularly suited when there are participants who are not naturally outspoken and perhaps do not appreciate being out of their comfort zone. On that account Domain Storytelling provides an environment where everybody gets heard and where every domain expert can tell hers/his story and get it visualized.

It is this very feature of Domain Storytelling that makes it somehow stand out. When all the eyes and ears are on a single story told by a domain expert then the workshop reaches a level of Deep Listening, a truly remarkable occurrence that can substantially improve the collaboration between the team and domain experts. After all, if there is something that software developers can get better at, it is listening to the business.

My short presentation of Domain Storytelling from CukenFest London 2019 conference is available here.



Mufrid Krilic

Domain-Driven Design Coach and one of Coworkers at CoWork, Norway. First Lego League mentor. My views are my own. Speaking gigs: