The two parts
Part One: Map It All
List the relevant users, their tasks, and what is needed to enable these.
Part Two: Prioritize It All
Prioritize the tasks according to the highest priority of the strategy.
Checklist for Part One: Map It
Note: the checklists are approximations. You can use them as inspiration or follow them strictly.
❏ Introductions. If some people don’t know one another, do a round of introductions. Point out the Facilitator and the Decision-maker and describe their roles. Here, it would also be a good idea to include some kind of ice-breaker to loosen up the crowd and set the stage for creativity.
❏ Explain the workshop. Describe the origin and purpose of user story mapping, the core activities and outline the process. Because it’s complex, people might not fully grasp what’s involved initially. Don’t worry if that’s the case. It will become clearer as you get into the different exercises.
❏ Present the vision. Make the person you have decided to present the vision present. This is important to align the team with the outcomes, the expected value, the overall ‘why’ of the project from the get-go.
❏ Present and rank user personas. List key (potential) users of the product. Ideally, you would use pre-made user personas from previous research (this is a big time-saver). Make sure to go over the goals and desired value for the user personas. Tip: Ask the crowd if the persona descriptions lack anything. This will make them think about what they actually say.
After the presentation, rank the personas by priority and give each of them a different colored dot. This will be used for the later prioritization.
❏ List the user tasks. To start the story mapping, ask everyone to individually write down on a post-it every step each user will take through the product — from their first touch to the point they leave. Tip: keep it to 1 step per post-it and make them start with a verb.
❏ Organize the tasks into activities. Ask everyone to stick each post-it up on the wall in the order the personas will do the tasks (chronologically). Move duplicative or similar ideas next to one another. Look for logical groupings within your line of user tasks, collecting together all the tasks that contribute to the user achieving a wider goal. Label these groups as overall activities (3–5 words).
❏ List the stories. Ask everyone to individually write down on a post-it everything that needs to be in place in your product to let the user achieve the goal of the activity. Each of these smaller units becomes the headline of a user story. It’s important these are written meaningfully.
❏ Organize the story “stubs”. As a team, post the stubs up under the user tasks, and the wider epic, that they apply to. If there are duplicates, choose the best and stick that up.
You should have a comprehensive map by this stage. To make sure you do, get people to walk down the line to see if there are any gaps.
Give a one-hour break.
Checklist for Part Two: Prioritize It
❏ Decide which stories mainly benefit one persona and stick that persona’s dot on those stories. Straight away you can see which stories offer the most to your most valued persona.
❏ Do a MoSCoW. Stick up three horizontal strips of tape across the wall. Leave room between the strips. You’ll be grouping user story post-its into swim lanes between these lines. Next we decide which stories we Must, Could, Should and Would do.
❏ Now move all the Musts above the top line of tape. While you’re at it, move all the other stories below the line, grouping them into Shoulds, Coulds and Won’ts. You can then arrange the user stories under the epic they help achieve.
❏ Define MVP. You’ve now got your stories ranked in priority from top to bottom. At the top, the collection of Musts is your Minimum Viable Product. It’s the first thing you’ll be working on (though not the only thing). Get the team to walk along the map and make sure these Musts are all and only the stories needed to produce a cohesive, standalone product that lets customers complete enough of their goals that they’ll adopt your offering.
Tip: You need a ruthless focus on including only the minimum in your Minimum Viable Product.
❏ Refine the stories and plan.
❏ Design the solution.
❏ Set up weekly reviews of designs.
❏ Start planning for development.