A Quick Guide to User Story Mapping

customer journey

As an individual in the marketing industry, one has to go through a long list of user stories now and then. Sorting and re-sorting the list of user stories related to a particular feature or across all features requires effort.

Therefore, what you need to organize them is a story map.

The requirements of every project adapt as it progresses. And it’s not wise to expect the project members to plan a static list constantly.

However, as mentioned before, a user story map is an efficient method to highlight the changes in end-user requirements.

User story mapping is an agile process, helping project teams arrange user stories in an appropriate model to understand a system’s functionality and effectiveness.

Why Use User Story Mapping

User story mapping is a simple visual method assisting project managers and development teams with identifying and developing an effective process.

This subsequently creates a valuable user experience. With that said, here are some takeaways of using a user story map:

  • It helps you develop and create a holistic plan to identify drawbacks in your backlog so you can deliver value and satisfaction to users
  • User story mapping also helps analyze users’ journeys through your product or service
  • It builds a comprehensive model that gives you an overview of a user’s activity. Basically, this will keep the user’s activity and expectations related to your product in front of you

The core reason to use story mapping in your business projects is that it offers you the ability to work through small bits to achieve the project’s goal.

Beneath every step are the details for each of the significant steps (these might be “purchased” or “checkout,” while the small steps could be “creating a membership account,” adding a shipping address,” “confirming the order,” or “selecting a payment method,” etc.)

What makes user story mapping a compelling choice is its reliability on visuals to give an interactive and collaborative project map.

How User Story Mapping Works

User story mapping starts by listing the key features and capabilities contributing to making a product. Then, a prioritized list of user stories is created underneath these critical features and capabilities.

The project team members collaborate to arrange user activities horizontally in order of priority (this can be customized to describe the behavior of a particular system).

Down the vertical axis, the user story mapping represents the increasing complexity or effectiveness of the implementation. 

Story mapping is planned during the release planning and is revised consistently throughout the entire project development process.

User story mapping is an all-rounder, giving access to everyone to add, edit, revise, and propose different goals and tasks to generate better results.

Using it, a team develops a mutual understanding that puts everyone on the same page regarding what’s important and the best choice to reach a particular goal.

To begin the story mapping process, the project managers and development team decide the format of their story map.

The standard procedure of user story mapping involves notecards and charts on a whiteboard or a wall – each representing a story, priority, or activity.

There is also some story mapping software that can help you tailor and customize story mapping. For example, online story mapping offers different sticky note shapes to collaborate and prioritize the user activity.

Reasons to Use User Story Mapping

Here are some reasons you should consider story mapping:

User Value

When product managers and development teams build a user story map, they practically have a comprehensive product summary from a customer’s perspective.

This summary helps them identify and understand how users interact and experience the product and what efforts will deliver the best outcomes.

This aspect help companies develop a product tailored to users’ expectations, giving them what they want.

Provides Direction

The user story map is an excellent process for showing us where we should start working on user stories and directs the development team to take the proper steps to get the MVP (Most Valuable Player).

Moreover, the story mapping identifies potential backlogs and holes in the current user flow. It helps teams pin down or improve any problem or requirement that might have arisen in the product.

User story map provides direction to the project developers to unleash and understand any friction the user might encounter during their experience with your product.

Perhaps this aspect is necessary for teams to focus on creating a valuable user experience.

Project Framework

Utilizing a user story map in your project development provides a clear framework for testing out the features because it represents them in order of priority and complexity.

As a result, it lets team members tell which features are important to build first.

In easy words, the amount and effectiveness of features are thoroughly described in the story map to meet the user’s needs.


Regardless of your role in the company, user story mapping can be helpful to you, too. Before you head out to build your next product or plan out the next big assignment, adopting a holistic approach with story mapping is the best choice.

User story mapping helps companies prioritize backlogs. Knowing what matters the most to users is one of the most prominent aspects that story mapping reveals.

As more and more businesses start working remotely, understanding how to collaborate virtually and mutually understand a particular project is necessary.

A user story map is an excellent choice to get your project team on the same page.


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