What is story mapping?

Story mapping (SM) is a technique for visualizing user stories to create a clear, birds-eye picture of the user experience from beginning to end.

A story map, which lists the various methods of attaining the same end goal, assists you in swiftly identifying your minimum viable product — which is at the top of the vertical list — and subsequent releases and feature upgrades.

The detail explored within a story map should be transferred straight into a product roadmap, making story mapping a potent tool for strategic prioritization.

Perform the form of Post-It notes or sheets of paper, all lined up from left to right — in chronological order — to storyboard the actions that a user must take in their overall workflow with your product.

The Importance Of Story Mapping

If you plan to develop a completely new product, getting customer feedback on your narrative map is vital to getting the best results.

Another significant problem in story mapping is the constraint of time.

Story mapping is not a quick and easy activity. Also required is a significant amount of physical space.

It may be necessary to put out significant effort to persuade stakeholders that this activity is worthwhile of their time and resources.

When possible, aim to develop your story map in a location where it will be visible to everyone in the organization once it is complete. Doing that will help your team be more synergistic and know what they need to produce for each release and why they need to build it.

Defining a user story is also essential before we start building the application.

User stories are brief, condensed descriptions of a feature or product capability written from the user’s perspective. For example: As a [description of the user], I would like [functionality], so you can achieve that [benefit to the user].

Furthermore, it will also assist in fostering the understanding that a narrative map is a living, breathing piece of documentation that should be updated as needed.

Who was responsible for the invention of narrative mapping?

We owe a debt of gratitude to Jeff Patton for the concept of narrative mapping.

Patton found the narrative mapping approach to be quite beneficial in ensuring that a product truly satisfies the demands of the end-user — both in terms of prioritizing the essential features and in terms of bringing the team together around a shared vision for the product.

After being established as an idea in 2005, story mapping was given a formal name just a few years later. Since then, enterprises worldwide have turned to narrative mapping to ensure that high-quality products reach the market on time.

Example Of Story Mapping

In the case of a music streaming app, a typical user story may be: “As a dance teacher, I want to create a playlist of high BPM music to maintain the energy level in my dance lessons high.”

So, where does this particular user story fit within the more considerable user experience of the music streaming application? Although the user will likely be required to set up an account, enter credit card information to subscribe, search for songs, and so on before they can make a playlist, as in the user story above, this would still be pretty early in the process.

In a similar vein, beneath the tale “build a playlist with a high BPM,” you will need to list the characteristics and functionalities required to complete that action. A search tool is necessary, but how can this dancing teacher find music with a high BPM? For starters, you need a search feature.

To correctly map out a story, you must step back and put yourself in the user’s shoes. It’s not relatively as straightforward as “look for a fast heart rate.” Sure, that’s one way to go about it, but it’s likely a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that isn’t beneficial to the user experience.

As a substitute, you create a list of all the conceivable ways that action could be made available in the future.

One method will be to type in “high BPM music” into a search bar. Another technique is to browse through artists/albums that the user is already familiar with and likes; still, another method is to browse through previously created playlists to find groupings of high BPM tracks.

These numerous features and functionalities can then be listed beneath the user story — in the order of their requirement — from top to bottom, beneath the user story. For example, incorporating a search tool into the app is vitally necessary for this user’s task to be completed, so you should place it at the very top of the vertical axis of the application.

How To Use Story Mapping

To create a compelling story map, you must first understand the experience of using your product from the user’s perspective.

Often, especially when you are intimately familiar with the product, it can be challenging to remove your product manager or ‘developer’ hat and see things through a customer’s eyes.

The problem is that failing to be sensitive and knowledgeable of the authentic user experience may result in your narrative mapping activity being a complete waste of time and effort, as previously stated.

An inaccurate story map does not aid in prioritizing and may even serve to reinforce existing biases in the organization. Form of this could be in the form of a non-valuable feature that the product team enjoys because it is both stylish and enticing.

It could also be a misperception of how technically literate the end-user is – after all if the product team understands how to utilize this function, why wouldn’t the end-user?

Because of this, including an aspect of user research or feedback in the narrative mapping process can be beneficial in ensuring that your map accurately depicts the actual user experience. mapping procedure

If possible, bring in someone from a different department to sense-check your story map — are there any gaps in what you’ve laid out? If so, fix them immediately. Is it likely that they’ll comprehend how to move from one activity to the next? How has your product team’s prejudice crept in a little too far?


As a work in progress, story maps are a visual representation of a story. They are never truly “finished.” With each iteration that is completed, your management will prioritize new features, and — as with any mapping project — user input and market fluctuations will provide unique insight into where your map is going.


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