If you were to do a Google search on the term User Story Mapping you might be led to believe that the theory and practice for is reserved for technology experts and those involved in software.
However, User Story Mapping as a way of thinking can be used across all business structures. The only requirement is that an individual takes the time to learn the process and build out their map.
How can understanding and applying User Story Mapping help your business?
Organization – get all thoughts in one place
Whether you are an executive making large business decisions, a manager pacing the day-to-day workflow, or an entry-level new hire, there are a lot of moving parts to manage in a successful business.
The beauty of User Story Mapping is that it allows you to document all thoughts in to one consolidated place. Gone are the days of forgetting what needs to be done, or losing train of thought after meetings.
When you user story map, every thought is recorded, and everyone is right. In the event you are wrong, you can correct yourself so that you are then right again. Ideas are no longer lost, and every voice is heard. User Story Mapping allows you to organize in ways you may not have been able to before.
Prioritization – break down daunting tasks
Organization is one thing, but prioritization is a whole different beast. It is important to zone in and break down the many tasks that may feel daunting at first. User Story Mapping allows you to focus your efforts and energy in specific places at specific times.
Certain tasks may take more time, or require more attention, or may simply need to be done first to move forward. By having discussion on what items matter most and rearranging cards up and down, you can note prioritization on what should be done first, what should be included in the first release, what may have to wait for the next project, or what may even be removed altogether.
Sketching out release dates and assigning tasks to specific members simplifies large tasks into easily digestible pieces for each member.
Accountability- know what belongs to who
Managing business is not solely about managing projects, managing people is just as important. Part of User Story Mapping involves assigning certain pieces of the project to a team or individual. Managing your team becomes much simpler with User Story Mapping.
Once you have laid out your project, you can begin to assign tasks.
This adds a layer of accountability. Each member can zone in on their responsibilities and update their status as they progress through the project. As you go to your meetings you can easily update your tasks and report in with the status of the project.
A strong work culture includes a strong level of accountability. User story mapping can assist in empowering your team and creating an environment of trust and shared understanding.
Visualization – build out your entire vision
Visualization can be a strong tool when applied to projects. Obtaining a goal or moving forward can very challenging if you cannot see it. This is where visualization comes in to play.
When you User Story Map you can see your goals from start to finish. What may be hard to understand becomes clearer and more obtainable when you can see it from a wholistic view.
User story mapping provides a blueprint of what you will need to accomplish to get your project completed or get your product to market as quickly as possible.
Before you begin to climb the mountain, you can stand at the base and see it in its entirety. Then, create a strategy to get to the top, step by step. This does not mean challenges won’t reveal themselves and persist as the climb progresses, however, it creates the opportunity to be better prepared for those challenges.
With User Story mapping you are able to build our your vision from the ground up. From an idea into a product release.
Focus – zone in on what matters
In conclusion, all of the benefits (add “listed”) above allow the biggest benefit of all – focus.
You are able to focus on what really matters. The end goal for your customer.
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