Ep09: TL;DR: Story Mapping
Story mapping is maybe the easiest tool to quickly and reliably elicit requirements. It’s my default that always delivers reliable results, not matter the situation.
Here is our 5 minute how-to.
Never heard of it?
A story map is a representation of features required to deliver a given experience.
Map out the user journey (process) horizontally and list for each process step (action) the required stories (think of them as features or part of features) vertically. Voilà.
Story maps are valuable because
- They help us get clarity on what is needed
- They help us find gaps
- They focus us on end user value
Ok, how do we do them?
First: Map journey horizontally. Each step is an action:
View / Select product
Second: Identify features required to support each action
View Select Product:
- Chose product variant
- Checkout button / Basket
- Product recommendations
- Up/Cross-sell module
But don’t forget secondary user requirements: To provide the above experience sales, marketing, operations will have to do things, and require supporting features and capabilities:
- Set up product
Within each action, vertically stack features by priority / value.
A vertical slice across all actions gives you your release.
You can define a release goal for each slice if that helps and link this to sales / marketing goals.
Fourth: Delivery by slice / priority
- Focus on the user (all users)
- Focus on jobs / needs / gains / pains
- Create multiple maps to make the overall product manageable
- Identify dependencies
- Make sure maps are end to end and each slice is narrative complete
- Include UX and technology, work iteratively.
- Be careful with using systems as actors (System does …). Try to stick with the user perspective
- Abuse them to become a Work or Product Break Down structure. At best they are a feature breakdown.
- Put technical tasks on the map
- Don’t jump to solutions too early