Archives For user story map

Electronic User Story Maps?

December 31, 2012

2016 Update: Forget about my attempt below and try this user story mapping add-on for JIRA:

User Story Map for JIRA

I received a great question from a customer today regarding user story mapping:

Quick q, are there any plans / thoughts on adding a higher level board for User Story Mapping ( vs. releases etc ) based on Jeff Patton’s work / ideas. We are struggling to communicate at a higher level epics vs stories vs projects vs priorities and after giving this a try ( manually using cards ) it appears to be really powerful.

The customer goes on to share that they are looking at using Easy Agile User Story Map for JIRA, an add-on for JIRA and GreenHopper. I wasn’t aware of this add-on previously so it was cool that the customer brought it to my attention.

The GreenHopper team has looked at user story mapping a few times over the past three years. We create a story map whenever we tackle a big piece of new functionality – epics, or release planning, for example.
What struck us every time we explored adding this to GreenHopper was that creating the user story map is:
  1. something you do at the start of a new project/epic, rather than an on-going task
  2. very collaborative with the whole team getting involved, walking around, creating paper prototypes and so on
For these reasons we have stuck to physical cards and avoided the projector during a user story mapping session. However, now that we know about the Easy Agile User Story Maps JIRA add-on we’ll be sure to take a look and see if we can retain the collaborative nature of these meetings.
Have you tried it? Tweet me and let me know.


Jeff Patton gave a great workshop this afternoon at Agile 2011. User Story Mapping helps you tell the whole story of your product, while still breaking stories down into manageable chunks that will fit within an iteration. In this workshop we started by looking at verbs, the doing words of our users. These verbs were written down on Post-it Notes as user tasks for the viewing of a film.

Without verbs in a story nothing really happens.

As everyone on the table had different user tasks we then began grouping them together and ordering the user tasks. As people do things in different order – for instance, do I watch the trailer first or read the review – we placed the user tasks in an order and focused on finding the buckets for those grouped issues. Jeff called these buckets the user activities.

The goal here was to go middle-out rather than top down, hence we started with the user tasks (get popcorn, press play) and expanded up to the user activities (watch film). The user activities form the backbone of the user story map.

As Jeff said, when you are working with a product backlog it may be easier to find stuff with a map. I tend to agree. The GreenHopper team used a user story map back in March 2011 for our planning of the Rapid Board, and we’ve used it a number of times since for starting various epics.

You can grab a copy of the handout from Jeff’s talk here and then follow Jeff on Twitter. For further reading take a look at his article the new user story backlog is a map.