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 We are pleased to announce the launch of StoriesOnBoard public beta, the online user story mapping tool.



We created it because we love user story mapping and we are extensively using it in our projects. By always making visible the entire scope it forces us to think global. It prevent us from loosing in unimportant details. I mean, how many times did you realize that someone in your team or your customer just stuck in finding the perfect solution to a … not so important problem. How many wasted hours, or even days… While there are many other tasks that are more important by far. That’s where the visualization of a story map can help a lot.

But we had a huge problem: the amount of space needed. Simply we didn't have enough board and wall space at our office. Even when we tried to make bigger maps for real life projects, we faced another problem: rigidity. It may sound strange for an agile practice like user story mapping, so let me explain. From week to week as we were discovering the domain we found new tasks (user tasks as Jeff Patton calls them in his incredible article). Then: How do you insert a new task in the middle of the map? Shift all the others with all their subtasks. That didn't work for us. We just found out that ideas were dropped (or merged) just because we thought they didn't worth the effort of rearranging the board.

So we tried it with MS Excel and Google Spreadsheet. For some time it worked, but we needed more.
We tried some online tools. For some time it worked, but you know... we wanted something else:
  • “Something that looks impressive enough to use it on executive meetings.”
  • “Something that is pleasure to use in everyday work. “ - like...
    • taking notes of ideas while we are just chatting about the product, the possibilities (and the impossibilities)
    • get a quick overview on the team's status meetings
    • share it with our remote team members and clients enabling them to see the big picture any time and what's more important: taking notes of their ideas while they were experimenting with the product.

After a year of after-hours development StoriesOnBoard public beta was born. We launched it publicly to see how valuable is it for others. We are eager to know about your challenges on user story mapping, managing scope, keeping deadlines and your opinion about the tool. Your feedback is welcome.

We hope that you'll enjoy using StoriesOnBoard at least as much as we enjoy developing it.

The Development Team


Comments

Comment by Nike

Hi,
I'm very pleased to find your easy handled tool on the net for creating story maps. I also realise that it is a beta version and that you just have launch it but would it be possible to fix the server error occur every time I as a user try to save a new created card? I have to go back an open the story map from the beginning after each new created story card. This would make it much easier to continue working with your tool.

Nike
Comment by Arpi

Hi Nike,
I'm sorry for the inconvenience. We had a bug that caused this problem in Internet Explorer. It will be fixed by this time tomorrow. Until then, please try to use Firefox or Google Chrome.

Thanks for reporting it!
Please feel free to ask for any help on feedback@storiesonboard.com

Comment by Will

Hi,

Great beta, your app looks far more appealing that any other online story mapping tool i've used. One feature I missing is the ability to export the story map to an image file - this makes it far easier to quickly share on email etc without having to 'share' and invite them to the actual map. Is this feature hiding anywhere or is it something you could consider? Appreciate its a new release!

Thanks

Will
Comment by Arpi

Hi Will,

Thanks for the kind words!
I have good news for you, as we are releasing a new version this week with export and import feature! You'll be able to export your story maps into MS Excel (in backlog and map format), jpeg image, and printable pdf. You'll get a notification about the new release if you're subscribed to our newsletter.
Stay tuned!

Comment by Simon

Looks good, nice and simple and intuitive -- as easy as postits with the added benefit of being able to manage adding items "mid board"

What business model are you thinking of here -- selling the software for organisations to host internally or only as a hosted service? I can see some value for my org but wouldnt be able to use a fully externally hosted service

Simon
Comment by Arpi

Thanks Simon! At the moment we are thinking in a hosted service, but that's not decided yet. Please contact us on feedback@storiesonboard.com, we'd love to know more details about your organization and your situation.

Comment by Catherine

I just happened upon this and I have to say it's brilliant. Easy, intuitive - the example is 'real world' and easy to relate to - it even taught me something about story mapping (which I'm new to) but did so without handcuffing or confusing me. In no time I was off filling my board with cards and loving it!
The only thing I could not find was the price -- and I was a bit wary that it might be one of those 'free trials' where you enter you email address and on the next page find they want your credit card during the trial to get your free trial - which annoys me. But NO- straight on, straight to business - no probs.
Maybe you should make a feature of the fact that it is a no credit card trial up front?
Awesome job guys!

Comment by Arpi

Thanks Catherine!
StoriesOnBoard is completely free in it's beta period (it's been in beta for more than one and a half year). But we'd like to keep it moving and work on it full-time, so now we are turning it to a subscription-based service. We'll send a newsletter about that soon.

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