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See the big picture product forest through the user story trees. This simple exercise can make the difference between product failure and success.

User Story Mapping with Favro

User story mapping allows you to see the big picture product forest through the individual user story trees. A term and technique coined by Jeff Patton, user story mapping brings a logical order to your stories, as they pertain to the expected user journey through your product. The basic concept is to lay out your user stories on a board, grouped by headings that represent the backbone of your product, in the order customers will experience them. This simple exercise can make the difference between product failure and success, not only at launch but also as features are added and refinements made.

Setting up user story mapping

Here’s a good way to handle user story mapping in Favro. I’m using an example of an online restaurant reservation app. I recommend first using Project tree view in the backlog (list) to build your core product vision: Epics broken down to Features broken down to User Stories type of thing.

favro backlog example of an online restaurant reservation app
User Story Mapping Backlog

Once you have all your features created and grouped along your major product backbone Epics, the team will want to begin visualizing the product’s user story map. Favro boards are perfect for this. Each column is titled with the major Epics in order of the expected user journey through the app. Feature cards are dragged from the backlog and dropped in the corresponding column, with a rough prioritization represented by which cards are at the top of each column. An initial map could look something like this:

reservation app in favro initial
Story Map Kanban Board

As you iterate on the user story map, breaking Features down into more detailed, granular User Stories and also adding releases via lanes, with your first release being the minimum viable product, it could look like this:

reservation app in favro, improved
Story Map Kanban Board with Lanes

With the resulting, more granular backlog looking like this:

reservation app in favro, its corresponding backlog
Granular Backlog

Live user story maps

From there it’s all about continuing to iterate either on the same user story map board or using a different board for each pass. Of course, you can also use tags to call out things like Release and Priority directly on the cards. If you don’t want to write the full User Story in the card title, either use the card description field or create a custom field that would look like this:

favro card with User Story
User Story Field in Card

Making it happen

With the user story map providing a clear way forward, it’s now time to make the product a reality. Since Favro uniquely allows for cards to be on multiple boards at the same time, user stories can be dragged either from the backlog or from the user story map board to actual team Scrum or Kanban boards. Make sure you’re keeping the cards on both boards with a ‘command + drag’ or setting your ‘Profile and account… -> Preferences -> Drag card action’ to ‘Add’. If your teams have separate collections, you can also add user stories to team flow boards directly from the card pop up menu via “Add or move to…’.

favro team board example
Team Specific Kanban Board

Thanks to relations on the user story cards product owners will be able to see how user stories are progressing towards completion directly from the user story map, even if the work is being done by multiple teams across multiple Favro collections.

reservation app in favro, second and final pass
User Story Kanban Board

Seeing the way

User story mapping adds a meta-level of clarity to your product development. It may take a bit more time, but it’s time well invested, providing product owners, process owners, and developers with a product overview, from the intended user experience perspective.

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