An Old Story of Story Mapping

Agile software development teams who use Story Mapping in the tradition originated in software circles by Jeff Patton and David Hussman will be amused to learn author Eudora Welty was doing her own kind of story mapping back in 1953.

In her correspondence with novelist and New Yorker fiction editor William Maxwell, she wrote:

“I used to use ordinary paste and put the story together in one long strip, that could be seen as a whole and at a glance — helpful and realistic. When the stories got too long for the room I took them up on the bed or table & pinned and that’s when my worst stories were like patchwork quilts, you could almost read them in any direction . . . I like pins.”
~Eudora Welty (What There Is to Say We Have Said: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and William Maxwell)

Note Ms. Welty’s visual cues for what her worst stories looked like when pinned into a “patchwork quilt”.

From Weird Writing Habits of Famous Authors, I learned of the pre-Agile card-writing used by Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov. Nabokov wrote most of his novels on 3 x 5 inch index cards, which he paper-clipped and stored in boxes.

Visit Jeff Patton’s slide deck Building Better Products Using User Story Mapping from Agile India 2010.

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