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Backlogs aren't perfect!  Use a Story Map!

Page history last edited by Robin Duke 10 years, 2 months ago

Presenter:  Jeff Patton

Facilitator:  Andy Powell

Attendees list at bottom (including contact address)


Thanks for Jeff for being a true agilist and leading this session on about 25 minutues notice!  Thanks to Ron Jeffries for having an always ready supply of index cards.


Photo of our story map.


Resources for learning more:



Action Item for Andy:  figure out how this community can collaborate!


The Need for Story Maps


With a backlog you go from high levels of granularity to lower levels of granularity.  Roadmap > Features > User Stories.  As you get down the user story level, you start to lose the forest by focusing only on a single tree.  Story Maps are a visualization that let you see both the forest and the trees.  Story maps are a way to organize your backlog.  It's primary focus is to provide context and it also shows priority.


Steps to Create Story Map


1.  What is the project and why are you doing it?

2.  Who are your users --get concrete

3.  Capture Day in hte life story into ACTIVITIES.  Creates the backbone.  Organize them from left to right to show the time an activity occurs in relation to anothers from a user perspective.

4.  Capture more specific user tasks below the activities.

5.  More important tasks should go above the less important ones.


Usage and Discussion Notes

  • Create horizontal swimlanes/buckets below activities that allow prioritizations.
  • Collaborate and ask people to put tasks in the right swimlanes/buckets.
  • Always keep the project vision and user with the story map.
  • Try to get a walking skeleton first and then build out each activity.
    • A walking skeleton has to goals:  get the critical elements of the business model working and have something you can demonstrate.
  • ACTIVITIES--def.  a collection of user tasks done by similar people at a similar point in time.
    • Start their name with verbs. E.g Quoting Policies
  • Sometimes 2 levels of feature estimation is helpful to POs as they try to understand the release with minimal inpact to the development team.
  • A wiki is a nice way to capture background at the activity, project, or user level.
  • A mind map might provide additional context to an activity
  • Tools Jeff has used to help with Story Map Creation.
    • Mingle has a story tree concept that can help.
    • Card Wall Generator is a geeky ruby open source project.



tkcjfguard-scm at yahoo dot com

tom.flynn at sungardps.com

sarah_pochyla at keybank.com

lucie_odette.lapointe at tdinsurance.com

bazil at agilechange.com

mgalloway at sncoast.com

pesmith at adobe.com

akausel at sncoast.com

anu_ramaswamy at csaa.com

raff_90 at yahoo.com

acockburn at aol.com

jpatton at acm dot org

andy.powell at versionone.com

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