Solution – Story Mapping
The building blocks of Story Mapping are persona activities and tasks. Activities have characteristics relevant to our software. An activity is comprised of a sequence of persona tasks.
To start a mapping, begin with a persona activity (e.g., Persona identifies himself).
List the activities your persona performs on separate index cards. Arrange the activity cards in usage sequence from start to finish as if you were answering the question What does this persona do with our software?, as shown below.
Add persona tasks on yellow sticky notes below the time line in the order that you would tell the story of the activity. Try to preserve the order of workflow from left to right. Arrange the yellow stickies as if you were answering the question What does this persona do in Activity n? as shown below.
If your persona does some of the tasks simultaneously, stack them vertically. Imagine you’re narrating the story of a workflow.
Whenever you’d have an OR in your sentence, you’ll probably stack the task vertically as in the persona does this or this
Whenever you’d have a THEN in your sentence, you’ll probably arrange task in a sequential, horizontally fashion as in the persona does this then this
An illustration of persona tasks performed simulaneously (vertically stacked yellow stickies) and sequentially (horizontally sequenced yellow stickies) is shown below.
One of the questions that arose in the Practical Agility session was
Where are the stories I can start queuing up in my backlog?
If we consider each activity as a large story or epic, then these epics deconstruct into child stories as shown below.
Each of the persona tasks (Child Stories) in the mapping above could be pulled into a backlog planning tool as user stories. Subsequently these stories would be tasked and estimated by developers.
Important Caveat – To avoid confusion,
Persona tasks are completely different and unrelated to developer tasks.
A persona task is something a person does with our software. A developer task is something a developer writes to meet the criteria contained on a story card.
Story mapping provides a scaffold to post and arrange your index cards (Activity or Epic) and stickies (Child Stories) in a meaningful way. By representing persona activities across the top of the map, we can visualize end-to-end use of our software. A successful story map shows the decomposition and workflow across a system. It communicates the persona experience.