Story mapping, a clear understanding of its creation

story mapping – exemple story map
story mapping – exemple story map

The Story mapping is an excellent practice to have a good vision of the project scope. How to make a story-mapping ? I will present you my way of doing a very good story mapping in this article

How to start this story mapping?

We have to start to gather the necessary material like post’it note square and a sufficient space on the wall (from 3 to 4 meters) ; we do this story mapping on this wall.

Sometime, when we don’t have a clear vision of the stories to create, do not hesitate to start to make the personas and its customer-journeys. Here are articles about these subjects:

Well write a persona in agile project
What’s a customer journey

Example of ecommerce website

In this article, I will define a subject to well understand this practice. I am the Product Owner of a new company that wants to create a carton sales website.

Definition of our personas

I will simplify our case. We will haveonly two different personas in my application: the customer and the manager.

On a larger ecommerce website, we would have more personas like logistician, merchandiser, administrator…

Here is an example of our simplified persona of customer:

persona
persona

Here is an example of our simplified persona of manager:

persona manager
persona manager

Creation of customer journeys

Now that we have defined our personas, it is advisable to do their customer journeys. They will show the typical journey of our two types of key users (describe above).

Here is the typical journey of Robert, our customer:

 

customer journey
customer journey.Here is the typical journey of Robert, our customer:

Here is the typical journey of Cyndie, our manager:

 

customer journey of manager
customer journey of manager

I think you have understood the concept; now, we will see the story mapping that is the heart of the subject.

Let’s start our story mapping

Now, we have our customer journeys that will help us to do our story mapping. We will start by defining our general themes. We will define them from our customer journeys:

customer journey split by themes
customer journey split by themes for story mapping
customer journey manager
customer journey manager for story mapping

With this theme gathering, we could start the distribution of our themes on our story mapping. There are no specific rules, you can create other themes (front and back for example).

Put the themes in our story mapping

Let’s take the division of themes that we have defined from our customer journeys for our user story map:

Prenons le découpage de thèmes que nous avons définit à partir de nos user-journey pour notre user story map :

story mapping themes
story mapping themes

I did not put all our themes but the main idea is to place post’it notes of a specific color for our themes. They are placed in order of development in the time (from left to right).

I stop for a moment on this interesting case. We often start with the user part because we say that it is the basis for starting a project.

In fact, I think that the user part is the last part to be treated for a first production because this part has a little business value. So knowing that the feedbacks will be not essential for the user part, we will focus to develop the parts where the feedbacks will be essential.

We will ask the developers to make an automatic connection as long as the login part of the users is not develop.

Indeed, I will reorganize the order of my themes to get the feedback as soon as possible:

story mapping themes – user story map
story mapping themes – user story map

This organization seems not bad but nothing will forbid us to change later if we realize that we can do better. We are agile, we do not hesitate to adapt by thinking that we can do mistakes.

Put the Epics on your story mapping

Now, we will put under the themes what we think are our Epics. Epics is a basic feature that may be one or more user-stories when we will do the refinement.

On this step, you are in the process of building of the future backlog. Start from your customer journeys and you will refine afterwards ; no trouble if it’s not perfect for the moment.

story mapping epics – story map
story mapping epics – story map

For reasons of legibility and space, I have put only my first two themes on the image but you have to do the exercise with all themes.

As for the themes, we try to put our epics from left to right in the sense that we think to treat them. We shift each theme to have them above the first epic of the theme.

Now, as you can see, our customer journey is almost totally in our story mapping.

Split in user-stories

We will see to split our Epics now in story if it’s necessary. If it is not possible, your Epic will become a story that will integrate to another Epic.

Here is the first result:

story mapping – exemple story map
story mapping – exemple story map

We have decided to put the homepage under the Epic “Navigue on the site” and we added an Epic which allows to create the general visual; It did not appear in the customer journey. We just made our refinement.

If your homepage becomes complex, it could become a new Epic. There is not a perfect rule in this splitting; the main thing is that the product owners who make this exercise feel as comfortable as possible.

Under the epic “Browse on the site”, there were too many stories. So we put the stories in two columns; that’s why there is no epic about the story “Terms” (which is integrate at the epic “Browse on the site”).

You will understand that I took the terms word for word from my customer journey but that you could rename “Navigue on the site” in “Navigation”.

A first vision of releases?

Story mapping can also provide a first view of our future releases. We will use the priority axis to help us to do that.

I will show you now how I can define a first release V1 and V2. On this story mapping, there is not everything but you have to consider the result only as an understanding exercise.

story mapping prioritized – exemple story map
story mapping prioritized – exemple story map

We shifted our stories so that they enter the releases that are defined by the areas V1 and V2. We will have a better visibility of the entire project. You will have also a good vision of the deployment strategy that you would like to implement.

Conclusion story mapping

Now, you have everything that you need to do your story mapping. Do not hesitate to ask me if some points are not quite clear for you.

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About Judicaël Paquet 88 Articles
Judicaël package (agile coach and senior devops) My activities in France and Switzerland: - agile transformation architect - customized agile training - sensitization and manager coaching - agile maturity audits and situations - agile coaching (teams, orga, product owner, scrum master, agile coach) Specialties: scrum, kanban, management 3.0, scalability, lean startup, agile method.