The business world in the 21st century has become very competitive. Customer expectations are changing every moment, and the winners are the ones that offer more user-centric solutions. That’s the reason that companies are focusing to design new products from the customer perspective so that users can use the products as smoothly and flawlessly as possible.
What Is a Story Map?
A story map is a way to reflect the journey users take with the product, which includes all the tasks and activities they undertake. Agile teams use it to identify the main outcomes end users want to achieve with the product. So, instead of developing something that stakeholders like, a team thinks from the customer’s perspective and sets the strategies accordingly. When a team creates a story map, it ensures that all members are on the same track from the start of the development phase to the complete product release.
Elements of a Story Map
Following are the main elements involved in a story map:
- User Personas: It is essential to know about your customers before actually working on any product. User personas assist in clearing the viewpoint about targeted customers. The personas can include details like name, location, age, tech knowledge, hobbies, likes/dislikes, etc.
- User Stories: User stories are the key to developing products that address the needs of the customers. They highlight user requirements, which then lets the development team come up with the solutions. For example, a user story can be like “As assistant manager, I want to organize my day-to-day work, so I can have more control”.
- Backbone: Backbone in a story map reflects the main activities a user will achieve from using the product. It presents the main functionalities of the product, without which it cannot deliver the value users expect from it.
- Nice-to-have: Nice-to-have reflects the features or other functionalities that you like to add to the product in the future, once the minimum viable product (MVP) or initial priorities are completed.
Benefits of Story Maps
The following are some key benefits a company can extract from story maps:
1. Better Communication among Teams
Story maps are written in a way that they are easy to understand for everyone without involving any technical complexities. Therefore, it becomes a lot easier to ensure cross teams collaboration without any major communication gap. Whether they are stakeholders, designers, or developers, everyone can understand story maps.
2. Customer-Centric Approach
As narrated above, companies are preferring the customer-centric approach to develop products that customers actually need. Story maps are serving a crucial purpose here, as they empower teams to build products the way customers want, rather than what the board of directors like.
3. Setting Priorities
A story map reflects what are the main features or needs customers want to get fulfilled with the product. This way, the development team can set the priorities accordingly and focus on developing the minimum viable product (MVP) first and then later expand its functionality based on the feedback of users.
In a nutshell, story maps make it easy to identify and prioritize MVP, visualize the requirements, adopt the customer-centric development approach, and ensure collaborative culture.