User story mapping

Last post 12:53 am June 17, 2019
by Martina Luenzmann
7 replies
03:00 pm April 4, 2016


I am interested in hearing your views on employing user story maps for large product development. Is there a general consensus that this is the method that all agile teams should employ? Or are there other alternatives that are as useful as user story mapping?


04:25 pm April 4, 2016

the more complex the product, the more useful it is to use story mapping to visualize your flows.
jeff patton's book is a bit borring to read, but it will help you understand how to use story maps for large projects.
i used his book to write the story mapping part of my scrum guide. the post right below yours:)

04:56 pm April 4, 2016

Thanks. Just started with Jeff Patton's book and like it so far.

Btw, are there other approaches that help with the whole product vision / big picture like the user story map?

08:48 pm April 4, 2016

> are there other approaches that help with the whole
> product vision / big picture like the user story map?

Story mapping is great when you have a big picture of stories you can map. These can then be articulated into a walking skeleton of minimally viable feature drops, so you can sketch out what to release when.

It's perhaps less useful when all you have is a vision and unvalidated assumptions about what might possibly constitute the scope. The challenge then is to close the validated learning loop and to build confidence in a backlog. Each MVP is then an assumption that must be tested, rather than a feature of known value that should be released.

05:29 am April 5, 2016

as i explain in the guide, you have tools like impact mapping, 7 products dimension (to be sure to not miss any aspects/constraints of a product), you can play the cover story game to be sure that every stakeholder agree on the product impact scope. as Ian said, it really depend on what step you re stuck at. you ve various tools for various situations and contexts.

01:32 pm April 5, 2016

Thanks both. Appreciate the comments.

04:05 am April 6, 2016

Story Mapping is useful not only when you have a backlog in place. It can be used exactly for this - building the backlog.

When I was working on my initial startup idea I wanted to elicit "the meat" out of it. Story mapping helped me to work out MVPs, as it forced me to come up with basic flow and it's details later on.
I would compare it to writing User Scenarios, but there is a difference. Since it's best to use whiteboard and sticky notes to freely rearrange items, it's great collaboration tool for teams. It's not that easy with Scenarios, IMHO.

Story Mapping becomes even more helpful when you're having more than one team working on a product. It's easier to spot dependencies.

05:10 pm June 16, 2019

Story Mapping is great for single teams and easily can be used for greater alignment between more teams. The highest number of scrum teams that I coached to do ONE Map was 11 (eleven) scrum teams and it worked wonderfully. We did the map over the course of a few weeks but net working time was more like 30-40 hours. Then, we validated the map with interested  customers who loved the approach a lot since they immediately understood what the product capabilities should feel like.