Story Mapping is a practice that helps you experience a customer or user journey. You would first capture the end-to-end customer experience by asking what would a user do? This includes establish a backbone, steps, and options.
The story mapping process promotes the team to think through elements of what the customer finds as valuable from a process perspective. It moves away thinking of functionality first and instead advocates thinking about the customer experience first. Then you would use an incremental approach of building, inspecting, and adapting for the next increment. What might be some tips to help you more effective work through a story mapping session?
Tip #1 – Craft your Persona (aka, customer)
Draft the persona that will be taking the customer or user journey. Place the persona at the top or head of the story map. This provides empathy for the user and inspiration for those that are attempting to craft the journey through the eyes of the user (via the story mapping practice). Learn more about personas at Personas - Getting to really know your Customer.
Tip #2 – Everyone stands up around the story map
As simple as it sounds, have everyone working on the story map session stand-up and around the story map as they are creating it. This keeps everyone engaged on crafting the story map.
Tip #3 – Everyone writes options
When it comes time to imagine options for each step along the customer journey, provide everyone with a post-it pack and marker. Ensure everyone knows that they should put up the option ideas as they think of them. This gets lots of options up quickly. This also reduces any single threaded thinking where only one person is doing the writing.
Tip #4 – Promote lots of chatter during Affinity of options
After a number of options are written by a number of people, it is time to determine if there are affinities. This is a good opportunity to promote conversation for understanding the customer journey together as each option is discussed.
Tip #5 – Ask owners of options if they are similar
If two options are similar, ask the owner of each to determine if they form an affinity. Often times when there are similar options on post-its, those that didn’t write them speak up to discuss if they are indeed related. Instead, those that wrote them should determine the affinity (or not) as they would know better.
Tip #6 – Use verb/noun
Use short verb/noun phrases to capture the backbones, steps, and activities (e.g. capture my address, view my order status, receive invoice). This helps with understanding the expected action for each step of the user journey.
You can learn details of executing a story mapping session at Story Telling with Story Mapping.