User Story Mapping in Practice

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Creating a backlog of user stories is pretty straight forward but it doesn't help you when it comes to decisions like what to build first, how to prioritize and groom the backlog, how to scope and …

Creating a backlog of user stories is pretty straight forward but it doesn't help you when it comes to decisions like what to build first, how to prioritize and groom the backlog, how to scope and plan the project, and how to visualize progress. The traditional backlog is simply too flat and often too long to help you see the bigger picture and make good decisions. User Story Mapping helps simplify all of these common project issues. By adding a third dimension to your backlog, your team will make better decisions about priorities, scope, and planning while improving your ability to visualize progress.

In this practical session I’ll cover the basics of user story mapping before walking you through case studies of how our teams are using this approach and the results we are achieving. I'll show you the before, during, and after pictures from several projects so that you can understand how our maps progress during the projects and how we use them to influence iterative development, promote good decision making, and visualize priorities, plans, scope and progress.

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  • I hear the phrase 'Functional Decomposition' used and abused around the industry and sometimes this approach turns into a technical decomp that is no longer understandable to the Product owner.

    In Jeff's Story Mapping book, due for release in September, he says 'decomposition is just a fancy word for smaller details that are part of a bigger thing.' The longer that those smaller things can speak to the user's primary workflow to solve their problem the better. As soon as you are only talking about Functions, the user gets lost in the details...while solving the User's problems should be the primary objective of any software product.

    Jeff's book can be pre-ordered here:
    Oreilly: http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920033851.do
    Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/User-Story-Mapping-Building-Products/dp/1491904909
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  • Hi Christopher. You are right that story maps also depict user interaction across time on the x-axis. Hopefully you can see that in the maps in the presentation. However, story maps also include functional decomposition in order to visualize and then implement MVPs.

    So, a story map depects both user interaction across time, as well as the decomposition. You can see the roots of some of those thoughts in Jeff Patton's writing here: http://www.agileproductdesign.com/blog/the_new_backlog.html and here: http://www.agileproductdesign.com/writing/how_you_slice_it.pdf
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  • this looks like feature mapping. story maps depict user interaction across time on the X-axis. feature maps provide the functional areas and decomposition as shown. check out hussman's video on story mapping at devjam.com.
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  • 1. User Story Mapping in Practice #Agile2013 / #SDEC13
  • 2. Steve Rogalsky @SRogalsky Blog.protegra.com Steve.Rogalsky@protegra.com
  • 3. Story Time!
  • 4. My First “Agile” Project Retail costing/pricing system Item Search Item Maintenance Factor Maintance Costing Engine Pricing Engine Cost/Price Prototyper
  • 5. My First “Agile” Project Retail costing/pricing system Item Search A++ Item Maintenance Factor Maintance Costing Engine Pricing Engine Cost/Price Prototyper
  • 6. My First “Agile” Project Retail costing/pricing system Item Search A++ Item Maintenance B+ Factor Maintance Costing Engine Pricing Engine Cost/Price Prototyper
  • 7. My First “Agile” Project Retail costing/pricing system Item Search A++ Item Maintenance B Factor Maintance C Costing Engine Pricing Engine Cost/Price Prototyper
  • 8. My First “Agile” Project Retail costing/pricing system Item Search A++ Item Maintenance B Factor Maintance C Costing Engine F Pricing Engine Cost/Price Prototyper
  • 9. My First “Agile” Project Retail costing/pricing system Item Search A++ Item Maintenance B Factor Maintance C Costing Engine F Pricing Engine Cost/Price Prototyper
  • 10. My First “Agile” Project Retail costing/pricing system Item Search A++ Item Maintenance B Factor Maintance C Costing Engine F Pricing Engine F- Cost/Price Prototyper
  • 11. My First “Agile” Project Retail costing/pricing system Item Search A++ Item Maintenance B Factor Maintance C Costing Engine F Pricing Engine F- Cost/Price Prototyper #%&#@*&!
  • 12. My First “Agile” Project Retail costing/pricing system Item Search Item What Maintenance Factor toMaintance build first Costing Engine Pricing Engine Cost/Price Prototyper Failed at iterative development Scoping the project Planning the project Prioritizing and grooming the backlog A++ B C F F- #%&#@*&!
  • 13. The goal of this life isn't to be perfect but to be progressively less stupid - Marshall Rosenberg
  • 14. Learning Outcomes How user story mapping can help you with: What to build first Encouraging iterative development Scoping the project Planning the project Prioritizing and grooming the backlog Visualizing Project Progress
  • 15. Fast forward a little bit…
  • 16. Another story, this time with a map
  • 17. External Users will: • Select a Contract/Group • Enter Personal Info • Select Benefits • Enter Dependencies • View Summary • Submit an Enrollment Internal Users will: • Search Submitted Enrollments • View Submitted Enrollment • Process Enrollment Things Users Will Do
  • 18. • Add Member Details • Select Dental coverage • Select Vision coverage • Display Member Detail Summary • Show Confirmation Page • … Identify User Stories
  • 19. Move risky cards to the top Identify Priorities. Left to Right; Top Down
  • 20. Release 1: Single, No kids, Dental Coverage Only, no Life & Disability Identify the Smallest Release Possible
  • 21. Highlight Scope Changes
  • 22. And now… Take a look at our Project Plan
  • 23. Green = Done Blue = In Progress Visualizing our progress
  • 24. The beginning
  • 25. Early in the project
  • 26. Almost Done
  • 27. All green = Done!
  • 28. To Summarize… User story mapping helped us with: What to build first Encouraging iterative development Scoping the project Planning the project Prioritizing and grooming the backlog Visualizing Project Progress
  • 29. Your Turn
  • 30. http://winnipegagilist.blogspot.ca/2012/ 03/how-to-create-user-story-map.html
  • 31. *We’ll start with the 2nd row
  • 32. 1. [silently] “Things People Do”
  • 33. 2. Read & Remove duplicates Search Email Update Contact Create Appt Compose Email Delete Email View Calendar Read Email File Emails Delete Contact Update Appt View Appt Create Contact
  • 34. 3. [silently] Group Search Email Update Contact Create Appt Compose Email Delete Email View Calendar Read Email File Emails Delete Contact Update Appt View Appt Create Contact
  • 35. 4. Name your groups Manage Email Organize Email Manage Calendar Manage Contacts
  • 36. 5. Arrange left to right Organize Email Search Email Manage Calendar Manage Email File Emails Compose Email Read Email Delete Email View Calendar Manage Contacts Create Appt Update Appt View Appt Create Contact Update Contact Delete Contact
  • 37. Your map may look similar to…
  • 38. The Stories that maps tell…
  • 39. #Planning #Scoping #Prioritizing #Grooming #1 Visualization is awesome
  • 40. #VisualizeProgress Example: Nice clean board to start. #1 Visualization is awesome
  • 41. #VisualizeProgress After 2 weeks of vacations… Progress #1 Visualization is awesome
  • 42. #VisualizeProgress But also, a lot of Blockers & Issues! #1 Visualization is awesome
  • 43. #Scoping
  • 44. #VisualizeProgress “This visualization stuff, it’s going to be good.” - CEO/Owner
  • 45. #2 Silent Brainstorming FTW
  • 46. Nope. Why? Cognitive Ease #3 USM (Backlog) as waste?
  • 47. #VisualizeProgress #4 Duplicate cards on your iteration/kanban board instead of leaving a hole in your map Duplicated card User Story Map Kanban board
  • 48. #Planning #WhatToBuildFirst #5 USM as MVP?
  • 49. #Planning #WhatToBuildFirst #5 USM as MVP!
  • 50. #Scoping At the beginning #6 Good for an project. (Even the easy ones)
  • 51. #Scoping Half way done. One new card
  • 52. #Scoping Almost done. Still only one new card.
  • 53. #Scoping Done. Only one new card.
  • 54. #Scoping At the beginning #6 Good for any project. (Even the hard ones)
  • 55. #Scoping After completing the first few stories, we realized this project was *way* bigger than we knew.
  • 56. #Scoping We quickly scaled it down to a version that still (barely) met the minimum project goals
  • 57. #Scoping Done!
  • 58. #WhatToBuildFirst #Iterative #7 What to build first is key… “Most of the time, we can create a horizontal slice of the whole application in one or two iterations” – Jeff Patton
  • 59. #WhatToBuildFirst #Iterative Objective vs. Subjective Quality Patterns we’ve used
  • 60. #WhatToBuildFirst #Iterative Single with only Dental Pick a subset of users for the first release. Patterns we’ve used
  • 61. #WhatToBuildFirst #Iterative Ask: “If we went live early, what could we do without in the first release?” Patterns we’ve used
  • 62. #WhatToBuildFirst #Iterative Not every task needs to be included in the first relase Patterns we’ve used
  • 63. #WhatToBuildFirst #Iterative Search? Only by ID. All others later Patterns we’ve used
  • 64. #WhatToBuildFirst #Iterative ** Treat the project like a startup ** Look for assumptions & risks Patterns we’ve used
  • 65. Back to your app. Let’s practice that first slice.
  • 66. What to build first? • What are the risks/assumptions for this project? • What are things we can do without? • What subset of users might we focus on? • Etc… What small stories would you need to build a horizontal slice of the whole app in 1-2 iterations? ** Write your top 4 **
  • 67. http://www.slideshare.net/SteveRogalsky/user-story-mapping-in-practice In Closing User Story Maps can help you: - Make better decisions - Visualize progress - Influence iterative development - … Increase your ability to deliver Steve Rogalsky Thanks! Questions @SRogalsky WinnipegAgilist@blogspot.com Steve.Rogalsky@protegra.com
  • 68. Links My blog: User Story Map series: How to create: http://winnipegagilist.blogspot.ca/2012/03/how-to-create-userstory-map.html How to prioritize: http://winnipegagilist.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-to-prioritizeuser-story-map.html Tips for facilitation: http://winnipegagilist.blogspot.com/2012/12/tips-forfacilitating-user-story.html Jeff Patton articles: - http://www.agileproductdesign.com/blog/the_new_backlog.html - http://www.agileproductdesign.com/writing/how_you_slice_it.pdf DotNetRocks podcast: - Show #750: http://www.dotnetrocks.com/default.aspx?showNum=750 This presentation: - http://www.slideshare.net/SteveRogalsky/user-story-mapping-in-practice