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User Story Mapping, a tactic tool

These days I use two tools quite well known in the world of design thinking, lean startup, entrepreneurship, or more globally of the agile world: action plan mapping, or tactics, and strategy mapping. Either the user story mapping and impact mapping. I had already covered these tools quite a bit. through different articles but a) I need and want to clarify my point with articles b) my practice has continued to evolve since the previous articles. I’m going to so try a small series (5 articles?) on these maps. A presentation of the action plan mapping, the user story mapping, then a presentation of an example of a misuse, twisted, but useful for example around a roadmap. A presentation strategy mapping, impact mapping, then a presentation a variation that calls on its cousin the strategy map and OKR of management 3.0. Finally an article on marriage eminently useful of these two approaches, one enriching the other.

ps: this is not Jeff Patton’s user story mapping to the letter. By example I don’t use “personas”. You can read the book of Patton, he’s good, funny, gutter, and the first 90 pages are enough, the others are just repetitions for delivery.

What’s the point?

A mapping of action plan to define the… action plan. That is, tactically (operationally, in the field, in the sludge, hands in sludge), how we will lead concretely the implementation of our strategy, our idea. Usually it is dedicated to the creation of a product or offer. The objective is to cut into small pieces that make sense to quickly have something something that allows us to learn and/or benefit from our as soon as possible. If we are able to order by value, and to deliver in this way in small pieces that make sense we have a effective risk management. Either we fail quickly and minimize the costs/investment of this learning, or it is a success and the risk is reduced or eliminated, and we can benefit early from our efforts.

I can repeat here the beautiful maxim of Jeff Patton: “Minimize effort, maximize the result “.

An action plan map, a user story mapping, that is realized in a workshop of several hours, in several times according to the scope, with ideally the people affected by the idea, the product, both those who carry the need and those who will realize it. Each one of them feeds the other. A large wall or table is essential.

Step 1: Determine your story and its chapters

An action plan map is first and foremost a story. The story of your product, your idea, your functionality, of your strategy. A story chapter by chapter so with a chronological approach. This chronology can be logic: I issue invitations to my big party after having found the right place. As this chronology could be based on a importance, a strategic approach: I decide to launch a community around dogs: we will first propose walks in then the guarding, then the expert advice, finally we can sell derivative products around this community.

If I express things in the form of a story I clarify my thought, and I communicate it much better. People project themselves well plus, they memorize much better (22x better said when you are able to tell stories).

So I start by building a spine that revolves around chapters of my story. (As always in these workshops: if we forget something, we can add it later). It would be necessary to push the person in charge to tell his story aloud by going through from left to right these chapters.

Color codes are our friends. We’ll try to define a color for this spine. The white one, let’s say. The simplest, of the A4 pages cut in half. Let’s be practical.

I take back here my “peetic(french)” fetish: a site of putting in touch with animal owners (cats & dogs) who will help me to allow the sale of derivative products. My story: “First of all, I have a possessor who therefore has an animal, he saves time and socializes by taking walks, by having people take hikes, or by having a guarding adapted by exchange (there he can even leave on holiday), finally he is delighted because his animal is doing well thanks to the advice provided by the service, so with our subscribers we will be able to start doing advertising and then sell through the shop of derivative products”. This story will emerge from the impact mapping that I will present to you later. She could have been more microphone: “I go through the products on the catalogue, I put products in my basket, I take advantage of the promotions, I must register as a user, then I pay, then I consult my orders and my invoices”.

User Story Mapping 1

Step 2: Determine the components of your chapters

When the first step is completed, we take chapter by chapter and tries vertically, in column mode, to place all components in it necessary for the successful completion of the chapter. It’s simple. Element per element. But the action plan mapping, the user story mapping is simple. The black track in the image above is when things seem impossible, we attack them step by step. Shit. Shit. I am quoting part of Descartes’ method). But where I turn away from Descartes: a small set of elements is enough to make sense (we do not seek completeness, completeness), we start with the most valuable (and not the easiest in the gentleman’s Method).

Do we use the yellow color code? Stickers?

Here it is a small mapping of the action plan, a small user story map, you can have very large ones… (always peetic).

User Story Mapping 2

Step 3: Points of vigilance

Determining the components of the chapters is often an opportunity to involve everyone, provide an opportunity for discussion, discussion and reflections, the opportunity to say aloud the points of vigilance. Often adhesions with other groups, strangers. We’re not going to not forget them, we’ll put a sticker, a post-it, something.

The color code? Red or pink, it’s still a point of vigilance. If the same point appears twice, simply stipulate it once, the leftmost time, in the order of the story.

User Story Mapping 3

Step 4: Define a first scheduling by value per column

A more difficult exercise for the bearer of the need: we will now go to him ask to prioritize by importance, by value, the elements to be inside each column, column by column. He will still have to take into account dependencies: I will not send my invitations before I get the list of guests for my mega party… although… in all. case I first need a start of the list before sending anything that’s fine. So the carrier(s) of the need order by value (and potentially he or they are subject to dependencies) the elements of each chapter. Above the components with the most value, the most important, those that interest us the most, those that make us the most to learn.

At any time, elements can appear, disappear, change, or change at any time. As the conversation progresses, no problem, you integrate them in the right place.

User Story Mapping 4

Step 5: Define a second, fairly global scheduling

Now we have a fairly complete mapping. It is time to To give relief. We’re going to add a column on the left to place it a scale. This scale should be importance, value. We do not can’t consider a too fine scale, so we’ll imagine three or four four levels. You could call these levels MoSCoW : Must (mandatory), Should (we should do this), Could (we could do this), Won’t or Would depending on the context (Is it useful to do this? We do it done not? or We’d like to do that but is it important?). But this can block some needy people: “What do you mean, but everything is mandatory” (yes yes yes that’s right…). You can then call up these steps “lot 1, lot 2…”, “stage 1”, “stage 2”, but that implies a completeness or it is necessary to imagine that we only do “batch 1” or step 1” and that it could be self-sufficient. Try to do your best we will come back to these titles at the end of the journey thanks to Dragos.

In any case: a) it is often a difficult act for carriers of the need, b) something should visually emerge of interesting.

User Story Mapping 5

Step 6: Slide your needy carriers into discomfort

In product management, in the management of many projects, from many activities, the complex and changing world in which we live. we live requires us to quickly validate our hypotheses, because all these weightings, priorities, all this value, remain assumptions. Assumptions to be validated, and in our risk management, our effort, of our investments, to validate as soon as possible.

You will have noticed that the carriers of the need are often reluctant to move from elements to lower priorities. What more could you ask for normal. However, it would be necessary to dare to put yourself in discomfort for validate quickly. It’s hard to push them into discomfort unless…. you free up space for a horizontal line, a new level, at on top of the others, on which you could write: “I’m in pain but this walking”, implied “ouhla it’s really the minimum minimum I don’t uncomfortable but actually it would already validate my first and more important assumptions, components”.

User Story Mapping 6

Step 7: Define the stories in the story

To make this emphasis even more meaningful I add a final touch-up, the Dragos ’s touch, the man with the best sense (sometimes he should do things inconsistent to see). Try to transform your column titles from left (Must, Should,… Lot 1, Lot 2…, Step 1, Step 2…) in sentences telling little stories. Give consistency to your subassemblies. This provides a very interesting reading grid that can push you to move a few more stickers /post-its. No concern.

Story #1 : Opening with Facebook connection that allows you to know about walks or guarding between owners. We we collect the information ourselves.

Story #2 : we reintegrate users into our system and we allows the dynamic creation of a community offer of walks or security guards.

Story #3 : we launch the expert advice and a first ad (monetization).

Story #4: we build up and launch the shop.

Story #5 : don’t dream, we’ll have other ideas before these ones.

User Story Mapping 7

Be careful the amount of effort per step is not necessarily the same! We wants above all to identify a tactical approach that makes it possible to divide into stories that make sense and are small in size (especially at the beginning) to quickly validate our hypotheses.

La prochaine fois je vous tord une cartographie de plan d’action, une user story map, pour l’utiliser comme outil de roadmap, de portefeuille projets, entre autres exemples.

Next time I’ll twist you an action plan map, a user story map, to use it as a roadmap, a project portfolio, among other examples.


user story mapping userstorymapping peetic cartographie