User Story Mapping For Beginners

Learn user story mapping in 5 simple steps and put your new skills into practice!

user story map

What is user story mapping ?

User story mapping is an agile product design method. Designing with user story mapping is one of the most powerful ways to create a user-centered product. The product design process always begins with understanding the problem and the user's goals. Collect each steps that the user takes to achieve her/his goals. Follow the natural, narrative flow of the user journey to explore all user activity easily. If an activity can be completed in various way, then you have different user stories.

By organizing user goals, activities, and user stories, you can an intuitive, visual backlog, that everyone understands. This is what we call user story map. Why is it so important to create such easy-to-understand documentation? Your customers need a simple way to confirm product goals. Plus, your teammates benefit from such a straightforward platform, with a clear description guide at the tip of their fingertips to which thay can add valuable ideas. To sum up, user story maps are the aid to building shared understanding between project members.

STEP 1 - Discover project goals

The first step is to focus on your potential customers. Summarize which goals the users achieve by using the product. Write each goal on an index card or post it, and arrange them into the logical order.

For example on an accommodation website, the goals can be: “find hotels in Florida”, “choose the best hotel, near to the beach”, “book a room for a week”

project goal discovery with story map
user joruney mapping with story map

STEP 2 - Map the user journey

After collecting the goals, retell the user journey. Identify the steps the user takes to fulfill her/his goal. Avoid mistakes by dutifully follow the narrative flow. Place the post-its into the second line, step-by-step. If you discover missing steps, just put it into the journey.

Post-it notes are a smart solution to creating small documents, but the online story mapping tool delivers more flexibility.

STEP 3 - Come up with solutions

The next step is to find solutions for achieving the user steps. Through this process, you create "user stories". Initially, you can use the following template:

As a user , I want so that step.

Using the accommodation example, user stories are: “As a user, I want to find hotels for my holiday, so I start browsing the discounts and advertisements” or “As a user, I want to find hotels for the next week, so I start searching by date.” Brainstorm with your team to collect the most possible solutions and put all user stories under the related steps.

user steps on a story map
user step and feature prioritization

STEP 4 - Organize tasks based on priority

If tGTM-5GXSDZ2rming team was successful, the story map should be full of great ideas! User stories have different priority levels. Identify the most common behavior or the basic solution to the problem.

Organize user stories by priority and place the most important card at the top of the column. Discussing priorities with the customer is crucial, so be sure to stay connected with your partners.

STEP 5 - Slice out the release structure

First, specify the smallest working part of the product, the Minimum Viable Product. It's always hard to choose the fewest tasks for a marketable product.

Try to complete the user journey by beginning with the most common or most easy-to-develop tasks. Just focus on completing at least one user journey. After that, try to organize the rest of the backlog into tangible pieces by drawing horizontal lines between cards.

If you add estimations to user stories, you can plan and schedule the whole development process release by release. This is one of the most important pieces of information, so that your customer or executive needs to calculate delivery time and costs.

release structure planning with a story map

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story mapping playbook

FREE Story Mapping Playbook

All leaked best practices in one place

50 handpicked hints on

· Discovering project goals

· Mapping the user journey

· Prioritizing user stories

Bonus materials included

· 100 user stiory map examples

· Templates for specs

· Useful articles

Want to explore more? Start here.

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