Story Mapping

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Story mapping is a technique of visualizing user stories in a more holistic view for better visualization of the overall user experience. In a story map, user stories are arranged in two independent dimensions. The horizontal axis arranges user activities (user journeys arranged in sequential order), while the vertical axis presents the increasing complexity of the implementation. It arranges every user story under the most important steps they are associated with. So, when a story map is completed, it provides a single holistic view of all the possible ways a user will use the product to complete his/her main objective.

Almost every product deal with different nature of users, which requires the product team to somehow create a balance and develop a product that meets everyone’s needs. User story mapping assists in this type of situation and empowers the product team to ensure the best user experience by adopting the user-centric design approach. Let’s have a closer look at what story mapping is all about.

Why Story Mapping?

Story mapping has many purposes to fulfill, as follows:

  • It provides a complete glimpse of the different ways a user can use the product.
  • It assists in pinpointing any gaps in the product functionality that can impact user experience.
  • It makes it easy for teams to prioritize what they should work on first in the minimum viable product (MVP) delivery and then the follow-up releases.

Story mapping gives a bigger glimpse of the product, making the team use visuals to collaborate. Instead of scrolling through JIRA or reviewing PowerPoint slides, a team gets a clear view of the whole user experience in one glimpse.

How to Do Story Mapping?

The following are the general steps involved in story mapping:

1. Set Destination

Before team members start creating it, they must set the destination they want to achieve. All team members must be clear about what they are trying to build, for whom they are building, and why they are building.

2. Identify Goals

Next, the team must identify the main goals that a user would like to accomplish with the product. Since most products serve more than one purpose, so it’s better to identify all goals that users might be targeting to achieve.

3. Pinpoint Steps to Achieve Goals

Once all possible goals are identified, the next stage is to determine the steps that the user must follow to achieve each goal. So, a team can add detailed steps beneath every goal, including all the clicks, swipes, and other things a user has to perform.

4. Organize and Prioritize

This is the last stage in story mapping where the team will arrange stories (detailed steps created in the previous stage) based on the priorities, discuss how to proceed with the first MVP, and finalize the following iterations

In a nutshell, story mapping is key to having a customer-centric development approach and ensuring iterative-based product development cycles.

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