Story Mapping for Agile Development

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What is Agile Development?

Agile Development is an approach to software development that focuses on rapid feature roll outs with constant iterations based on interdepartmental consultations and user feedback. It is a project management framework that is based on incremental developments with each stage in the process being tested, and basing the next iteration or product pivot on the feedback or results of the end users.

Story Maps and Agile Development

Understanding what agile development is is just the beginning - it's incorporating it into your business practices that's the important part. A great way to implement the agile approach into your project managmenet practices is to assocaite visuals along with agile development. One common visual to start with are user story maps - visual depections of users interacting with your product and the responses or actions your UX elicits in users as they work to acheive a goal or objective. Creating story maps for your users forces you to break your product down into incremental stages which then allows you to focus on how iterative changes can be applied to each stage independently to improve the product as a whole. Story maps can take different forms - linear journeys as the user walks through your product, non-linear cycles, or even graphs depecting time or priority aloing the x-axis and complexity of the task on the y-axis.

Types of Agile Development


Scrum is an agile development methodology that focuses on time boxing project tasks into sprints (typically 1-4 weeks in length) and allows developers to roll out new features with a predetermined cadence. Typical practices of organizations using scrum are daily standup meetings, sprint kickoffs, and post-sprint reviews.


Kanban is an agile development methodology that includes and visual backlog of prioritized tasks that need to be completed in order to finish a project. As soon as these tasks are completed they are released resulting in continous product iterations and releases. Developers have the choice to pull tasks most closely related to their feild of expertise and tasks are not time-boxed.

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How to Story Map for Agile

  1. Isolate a Project

    First step in implementing agile development practices is to choose a project to work on. Agile development works best on complex projects with many monving parts. Choose a project that may require interdepartmental colloboration and the creation/implementation of a number of new features. Then choose a scrum master - the person who will be in charge of making sure the project is moving according to plan.

  2. Create a Task Back Log

    Next step is to createa list of all of the required tasks that the project will need in order to be complete. After all of the tasks have been listed out you can then organize them by importance and priority. Often times there will be tasked that are impossible to complete without completing one of the other back logged tasks first - your priority list should account for this. The task list will change and grow through out the agile process as you realize more tasks that need to be completed and on the other end realize some tasks are unecessary.

  3. Divide Into Sprints or Create a Kanban Board

    Now it's time to decide if you're taking the Scrum or Kanban approach. If you decide to go with Scrum then divide your task lists in to individual sprints. Limit your spints to a maximum of 4 developer weeks, but aim for around 2 weeks. This will cut scope on your project and force developers to work on the most important tasks. If you go with Kanban then create a Kanban board with all your back logged tasks. Have developers go to the board and physically choose a task to claim as theyre own. Move the task through the board from "To-do", to "Doing", to "Done".

  4. Get to Work

    Start working! As developers and marketers begin to work together on their assinged tasks it helps to have daily quick stand-up meetings. These meetings should be no longer than 10 minutes long and each participant should answer 3 core questions: What did you do yesterday? What are you doing today? Is there anything blocking you from accomplishing your tasks today?

  5. Review Project, Process, and Repeat

    After the spring is over or a new feature is rolled out - review the project to make sure it is acceptable for user interaction. It's also essential to review the process as a whole and to be active in looking for ways to improve the effeciency or output of the process. After this is all done, repeat from the begining on the next project of feature set.

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•   (English) Story Mapping for Agile Development   •   (Español) Mapeo de Historias Para el Desarrollo Ágil   •   (Français) Cartographie des Histoires Pour le Développement Agile   •   (Deutsch) Story Mapping für Agile Entwicklung   •   (Italiana) Story Mapping per lo Sviluppo Agile   •   (Nederlands) Story Mapping Voor Agile Development   •   (Português) Mapeamento de Histórias Para Desenvolvimento Ágil   •   (עברית) מיפוי סיפור לפיתוח זריז   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) تخطيط الحكاية لتطوير رشيق   •   (हिन्दी) Agile विकास के लिए कहानी मैपिंग   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Составление Карт для Гибкой Разработки   •   (Dansk) Story Mapping for Agile Development   •   (Svenska) Story Mapping för Agile Development   •   (Suomi) Story Mapping Agile Kehittämiseen   •   (Norsk) Story Mapping for Agile Development   •   (Türkçe) Çevik Gelişim İçin Hikaye Eşlemesi   •   (Polski) Mapowanie Historii dla Zwinnego Rozwoju   •   (Româna) Cartografierea Istoriei Pentru Dezvoltarea Agilă   •   (Ceština) Mapování Příběhů pro Agilní Vývoj   •   (Slovenský) Mapovanie Príbehov pre Agilný Vývoj   •   (Magyar) Történetfelvétel az Agilis Fejlesztéshez   •   (Hrvatski) Mapiranje Priča za Razvijanje Agilnosti   •   (български) Историческо Картографиране за Гъвкаво Развитие   •   (Lietuvos) "Agile Development" Istorijos Žemėlapiai   •   (Slovenščina) Mapiranje Zgodbe za Agilni Razvoj   •   (Latvijas) Stāsta Kartēšana Agile Attīstībai   •   (eesti) Agile Arengu Arengute Loendi Kaardistamine