User story mapping for fun and profit – Lynne Gurney Johnson & Charlotte Philippe

For Lynne the day Jeff Patton released the User Story Mapping book was a great day, maybe not so much for her boss as now everyone would know how to deliver the right thing!

The exercise Lynne and Charlotte walked the group through was the “getting out of bed” and out the door game. You have 10-15 mins to plot out what you do in the mornings to the point you get out the door.
IMG_0243To learn how to do a story map you should start with something you know. Think of a typical morning and use post it notes for each activity.
In groups of 3, people had to merge their maps and do it left to right timeline fashion, removing the duplicates. IMG_0245If you pull out the group headings, these are your backbone activities.
As everyone has a slightly different routine are there any personas that stick out. This could be cat owners, people with teenagers or little kids.
The tasks can be split further into sub-tasks.
The user story mapping breaks projects down from high level to detailed tasks. This is known as the Altitude metaphor coined by Allistair Cockburn
The goal is high level, activities are just above the land, the tasks are sea level and below the sea are the sub tasks.

Kent Beck actually asks are requirements actually agile?! The word is wrong and hence these became user stories.
The user story adds the context and is a tool to get teams talking.
These stories can be captured electronically using tools.
Looking back at the merged story map then you need to play the ‘what if game?’. What if you don’t wake up and you have only 10 mins to get out the door. What are the musts? These stories go above the line and this is called splitting the map.
Above the line is your MVP
Take that and split into releases
Then go to sprint planning
Capture any conversations in a parking lot
So how do you change the world? What does the world look like now and the world later. There is always too much to do so you need to minimise the output and choose the highest priority items to work on.
If you are replacing an existing system, create an as is now map. Talk to the end users and learn what they need. From this you design the what’s the to be map?
Go into details and you can create the 1st phase MVP followed by the  2nd phase MVP. The important thing is to get the backlog out. If you have an existing backlog you can have an user story mapping session to recreate the backlog as sometimes there is so much noise in existing backlog.

This was a great interactive session to give an insight into user story mapping, but I do wonder how you can get end users to help create this and get them to use post it notes!

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