User Story Mapping Report

If you’re an avid story mapper, have you ever wondered whether you’re one of the few who discovered this technique and learnt to use it to your advantage or there are other story mappers out there very similar to you?

If you’re new to story mapping, you may question if the technique is actually right for you and wonder how other teams use it to their advantage.

Since we’ve been asking all our users to tell us about their background a bit, we’ve gathered a lot of data over the years about all you story mappers. So we thought we could show you through some exciting stats what the story mapping community looks like you also belong to. Learn about yourself and other teams from our very first User story Mapping Report!

About the data the report is based on

To stay relevant, we’ve only looked at data provided between 1/01/2020 and 19/05/2021. In between those dates, close to 10 000 StoriesOnBoard users have answered our onboarding questionnaire.

Experience level of story mappers

It might come intuitively that more than 60% of story mappers that come to the app are new to the technique – or consider themselves beginners. Even though the concept of story mapping is quite simple, it is hard to put it in practice. During our user interviews, we always conclude that the onboarding process is the decisive factor determining whether the team can adopt story mapping successfully.

Most teams – based on our experiences – that fail at story mapping, do so very early on in the process and they never conclude an entire project with story mapping.

Composition of story mapping teams

Most story mappers come from the product team and have roles that are responsible for deciding what gets implemented in the product such as Business Analysts, Product Owners and Product Managers. Usually it is users in this role that drafts story maps in the first place and lead scoping sessions where story mapping is used. However, team members in very different roles may also contribute to the story map and take part in the process actively, for example the Lead Developer or other dev team members and the UI/UX Designer. Service-based companies functioning as an agency and working with external clients also use story mapping to conduct negotiations about the scope.

External stakeholders may be familiar with the technique, but very rarely take part in story mapping process actively.

Products Developed with user story mapping

When we asked out users about what kind of products they work on using story mapping, some answers were quite obvious, but we can also discover some interesting facts between the lines. Of course, the majority of story mapper teams develop a software product, which doesn’t tell us a lot. The ratio of SaaS, internal software products and agency products is very similar with SaaS products being in the lead. This might be due to SaaS companies being more tech-savvy, more willing to try different technologies and experiment with new tools, while agencies have a slightly more limited room for experimentation.

The most surprising fact, however, is that 12% of users come from non-software teams. Story mapping has been created to facilitate shared understanding of dev teams so they can create user-friendly products specifically, but with many other methodologies – including scrum – it has been transferred to other areas that can benefit from enhanced shared understanding. Among our users, we discovered several use cases of story mapping we weren’t even aware of. We’re planning on exploring these further later and showing you the different use cases, but to give you an example, we’ve seen story mapping used for educational purposes quite often.

When a process is depicted on a story map, people start having a grasp of complex proceedings much sooner.

Key takeaways

In the first part of our User Story Mapping report, we’ve brought you 3 interesting set of data about the experience level of story mappers, composition of story mapping teams and types of products they’re working in. We’ve seen that there are very few advanced story mappers out there, so if you’re planning on becoming a black-belted story mapper, you can be part of quite an elite community. As for roles, it is generally Product Owners, Product Managers and Business Analysts that draft the story map, but there are other members of the product team that take part in story mapping. The majority of products planned with story maps are software products, among which SaaS products take the lead. What is truly interesting, though, that quite a significant ratio of users are working on non-software products.

If you’ve found the sats interesting, stay tuned for more.

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