Multi-uses of User Story Mapping

User Story Mapping is normally a technique for Product Development, but you need not limit yourself for just one task or function.

Here we explore outside the box and look at applying User Story Mapping to product lessons, customer feedback, marketing strategies and even Christmas lists.

Software Development

User Story Mapping is most commonly used for software development. You are able to outline and see the bigger picture of your product. You can prioritise the user stories, identify the journey of your users and involve all team members to have a shared understanding.

It is not just a tool that you use to outline the project, it is a technique applied to every step of the way. You can change, adapt, reprioritise, add further tasks, scrap old tasks, and so on. While ideal to sit on a wall in the office with post-it notes one large company has a large 75″ display in the office with their FeatureMap on display for all offices and departments.

Moving to the digital has its benefits and allows all departments and those remote to the office to collaborate. In addition, you can allow your shareholders and in some cases, even your customers to get involved.

Movie Buddy first MVP

 

Product Lessons

Occasionally after a campaign, season, or annual review you look back at your product and hold a session of “product lessons learnt”:

  • Promote the recurrence of desirable outcomes
  • Preclude the recurrence of undesirable outcomes

Using User Story Mapping here can help you outline the user journey. Define each step which worked, and highlight what should be removed or revised.

Using layers you are able to prioritise your learnings by the impact on the user using analytics data, internal comments and observations, incident reports, and any further data or knowledge that can build a picture about your product and its presence.

Your goal is not to create a product but to highlight the users experience to learn.

 

Customer Feedback

Developing your map can involve the customer, allowing a public-facing map and open process you can get feedback direct from the customer.

Taking suggestions, feedback and ideas from customers is the golden goose.

We’ve all had the occasional user when you open up your ticket support system or email and in the inbox sits 10 emails all from the same person hammering feedback after feedback. These users are my favourite, and while initially a shock to the system, they offer the best value.

Taking all feedback to build your User Story Map and highlight the pain points reported.

Set columns for feedback, suggestions, bug reports and crashes.

Again, do not set this as a product development map but a feedback map and this can help you prioritise your next steps for development and also feed directly into Product Lessons.

 

Marketing and email strategy

When defining the user flow from a cold lead to a warm lead, add in tracking, and stages you’ll soon hit a complicated process. User Story Mapping, the super-hero of project management is here again.

Setting our a User Flow from cold lead, to warm lead, to sign-up, to conversion can all be done with a FeatureMap.

While mailing systems, like mail-chimp, can work exceptionally defining a campaign, following a user along a sales process (especially when plugged into marketing) is broader than MailChimp.

Below I have defined a map in FeatureMap to give you an example of a marketing process. Click the image to see the Map on FeatureMap.co:

A Marketing and Email example for a fictional product.

 

Christmas Lists

Happy Holidays to you all, and time for a bit of fun, but an entirely function one.

This year I was planning out what to buy my friends, family and fellow office workers and wanted a way to track what I had purchased. In some cases, I have commissioned artwork and needed picture frames and had presents that became a multi-stage process. I turned to User Story Mapping and whipped up a FeatureMap to help manage who was getting what!

Check out our Christmas Demo Map below:

Christmas Gifts Mapping – A fun way to use FeatureMap

Do you use User story mapping for any other purpose?

If you wish to try out FeatureMap.co it is free to use, and has a trial period upon signup of the premium features!

Intro to Story Mapping – Feature Definition

A story user map is a method for visually covering a story, to help discussions. The main purpose for making  a map is to build shared understanding for the individuals of a team.

We started this intro to story mapping with a basic run down and a simple exercise taking you through the morning tasks and making a map. Now we will look at how to define features in a product.

When you first start off it is best to have an idea of the ideal product, but have not yet started on your product roadmap. Instead start with the user’s normal workflow (minus the app or software) and figure out how to translate that flow into a product experience.

Below I have outlined an example case study of arranging a conference with the persona of the organiser and board member.

The team sat down and exchanged tasks, goals and ideas. We then started to construct a story map based on the conference organiser’s first set of responsbilities and workflow.

Conference Organiser Workflow

After the initial workflow you will notice the goal at the top linked to the persona.

The main activities are in the first row, divided into further tasks in each column which details each activity.

On a card we have further detail such as:

Detail on a card with checklist

After we established the conference organiser’s tasks we then expanded the story map to include the expanded responsibilities and workflow of the entire Team.

Workflow of the organiser and speakers

With this map now completed we can see the user workflow and what features we need defined.

Check out our completed map.

Next from this map we can develop and build a product roadmap.

Check in next week and have an introduction to designing our first MVP roadmap. Also check out from idea to MVP, a seperate article about building from the idea to the MVP.

Quick intro to Story Mapping

A story user map is a method for visually covering a story, to help discussions. The main purpose for making  a map is to build shared comprehension for the individuals of a team.

When building your story map, you should include all the relevent people, regardless of position, in the team. Due to their different foundations and interests, they all get valuable points of view. Everybody has an unmistakable and common comprehension of what they are about to build together.

Product owner, testers, technical lead, customer support, architect, UX/UI designer, sales and marketing, etc. All have their own techniques and requirements which will help you create your map.

How to build a story map

If you are brand new to user story mapping, we have a short and sweet exercise. Let’s take a simple real-life example of “getting ready for work”.

The StoryMap of Alex’s Morning
  1. Start with the goal.
    What is the story map about?
    What are you trying to accomplish?
    The main overall purpose.
  2. Second list your main stories, your main tasks or activities. From left to right, insert the main steps of the story map that need to happen.
  3. Move on and detail each main list – column by column, left to right.

In the case of product features, the layers can be then developed and you can plan out MVP‘s, or product iterations with each following layer.

When exploring product features, build story maps for multiple options that solve the underlying problem. Allow your entire team to contribute and come to and understanding of the final decision.

Story User Maps are ideal for allowing a team to design out a product feature and reduce the need to go back half way through development because XYZ requirement was missed out.

Check out our Getting Ready For Work Map

We cover three different user-case situations we can use Story Mapping.

Feature Definition

Product Roadmap