Sunday, July 26, 2015

Story Telling with Story Mapping

Once upon a time, a customer had a great buying experience on a website.  The customer loved how from the moment the customer was on the site to the moment they checked out a product, the process was intuitive and easy to use.   The process and design of the customer experience was not by accident.  In fact, it was done very methodically using story mapping. 
What is Story Mapping
Story Mapping is both a visual practice that provides you with an understanding of how a user might use a feature and a decomposition practice that helps you consider how you may incrementally decompose an idea. Established by Jeff Patton, the visual portion helps the team understand the customer experience by imagining what the customer process might be.  This promotes the team to think through elements of what the customer finds as valuable. 

The decomposition portion allows the team to think through a number of options which represent pieces of work (e.g. epics and user stories) on how to incrementally build the feature to gain the most feedback from the customer.  This helps both validate the value of the idea and ensures the idea is being built in a way that provides the best customer experience. 
Benefits of Story Mapping
Story Mapping is a way to bridge the gap between an idea and the incremental work ahead.  It's a great way to decompose an idea to a number of unique user stories.  What are some additional benefits of story mapping?
  • It moves away from thinking of functionality first and toward the customer experience first. 
  • It provides the big picture and end-to-end view of the work ahead
  • It's a decomposition tool from idea to multiple user stories. 
  • It asks the team to identify the highest value work from a customer perspective and where you may want the most customer feedback.
  • It advocates cutting only one increment of work at a time instead realizing that feedback from the current increment will help shape subsequent increments. 
Getting started with Story Mapping
How might you get started in establishing a story map?  It starts by having wall space available to place the customer experience upon.  Next you educate the team on the story mapping process (see below).  Its best to keep to a Scrum team size (e.g., 7 +/-2), where everyone participates in the process.  Then as a team, follow these high-level steps:
  • Create the “backbone” of the story map.  These are the big tasks that the users engage with. Capture the end-to-end customer experience.  Start by asking “what do users do?”  You may use a quiet brainstorming approach to get a number of thoughts on the wall quickly
  • Then start adding steps that happen within each backbone.  
  • From there explore activities or options within each step.  Ask, what are the specific things a customer would do here?  Are there alternative things they could do?  These activities may be epics and even user stories. 
  • Create the “walking skeleton”.  This is where you slice a set of activities or options that can give you the minimum end-to end value of customer experience.  Only cut enough work that can be completed within one to three sprints that represents customer value. 
As you view the wall, the horizontal access defines the flow of which you place the backbone and steps.  The vertical access under each contains the activities or options represented by epics and user stories for that particular area. Use short verb/noun phrases to capture the backbones, steps, and activities (e.g. capture my address, view my order status, receive invoice). 

Next time your work appears to represent a customer experience, consider the story mapping tool as a way to embrace the customer perspective.  Story mapping provides a valuable tool for the team to understand the big picture, while decomposing the experience to more bite size work that allows for optionality for cutting an increment of work.  Its another tool in your requirements decomposition toolkit.  

Monday, July 6, 2015

Mario Moreira - Available for your Agile and Business Conference & Seminar

Mario Moreira is available to speak at your Agile or business conference/seminar.  He has been a keynote speaker and has led numerous sessions over the years (conference, seminar, and webinars). If you are looking for someone to energize the crowd, get them engaged, and have them talking about the session afterward, then Mario is the speaker for you.  

Email: Mario can be reached at
Twitter: Consider following Mario at @AgileMario 

Note: Mario recent book is entitled "The Agile Enterprise".  Learn more at:
.  A Japanese version of this book is also available. 

Mario's past Speaking Engagements:

- 2021 ISPE Annual Meeting and Expo - Discovery Mindset: Benefit Patients Through Fast Time to Market - - Nov 2021 - Boston, MA  

- XP2021 - Time to Play Shark Tank, - June 2021 - UK/Virtual/Worldwide

- World Agility Forum - Fake Agile vs Real Agile - panel with Chet Hendrickson, Nigel Thurlow, Steve Denning, and Mario Moreira - - Oct 2019 - Lisbon, Portugal

- eXperienceAgile (XP) 2019 - Building a Continuous Customer Value Driven Company - Oct 2019 - Lisbon, Portugal

- eXperience Agile (XP) 2019 - The Agile Futurist - - Oct 2019 - Lisbon, Portugal

- Agile Games 2018 - Experience the Journey toward Psychological Safety, April 9, 2018 - Boston, MA 

- Boston SPIN - Requirements Tree: Connecting your Strategy to your User Stories for greater Value to your Customers - May 15, 2018 - Burlington, MA

- Agile Dev East -A Customer Value-Driven Model for the Agile Enterprise - Nov 8, 2017 - Orlando, MA

- Massachusetts Commonwealth PM Connect - Agile in the Wild: The Many ways to Apply Agile (not just Scrum and Kanban) - Sept 21, 2017 - Boston, MA

- Agile New England - Building and Running a True Customer Value-Driven Enterprise - May 4, 2017 - Boston, MA

- Barcelona Scrum Meeting (February 2017) - "Where HR and Agile Meet" - Barcelona, Spain

- Keynote for the Agile Conference Tunis - The Foundation and Future of Agile -, Oct 11, 2017 - Tunis, Tunisia 

- MassBay PMI - Establishing an Agile Portfolio Management Pipeline to Deliver Higher Value to your Customers - Sept 22, 2017 - Norwood, MA 

- Agile Games 2017 - "Energize your Workshops with 3 Constellation Icebreaker Games"

- Agile Development Conference (November 2015) - "Actionable Customer Feedback: A Key to Product Success" -  "" - Orlando, FL, USA  

- ScrumDay Portugal (October 2015) - Keynote speaking on "How can Portugal be a Technology and Business Leader on IT thru Agile Practices?" - "" - Lisbon, Portugal 

Agile2015 (August 2015) - "Customer Vision for better Feedback and more Product Success!" - "" - Washington, DC USA

Agile New England (July 2015) - "Customer Feedback Vision - Persona to Requirements to Demonstration to Product Success!" - "" - Boston, MA USA

- MassBay PMI Professional Development Day (June 2015) - "Vistaprint's Agile Transformation and the Education that helped with their Journey" - " Boston, MA USA

- Software Quality Group New England/SQGNE (May 2015) - "Agile - Bringing Testing to the Forefront" - - Boston, MA, USA

Agile New England (November 2013) - "The Importance of Agile Readiness - Success Factors for a Transformation to Agile" - ""- Boston, MA USA

Agile Development Practices East (November 2013) – “Getting Ready for your Agile Journey - Boston, MA, USA

Boston SPIN (January 2013) – “Writing Effective User Stories for Agile or Waterfall” – - Boston, MA, USA

 Give Thanks for Scrum (November 2012) with Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland – “Getting the Most from the Sprint Review- - Boston, MA, USA

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (October 2012) – “Go Lean, Go Agile: Are we there Yet?” – Panelist -  - Baltimore, MD, USA

- Agile Development Practices East (November 2011) – “Minding the Gap: Project Governance vs. Agile Flexibility” -  - Orlando, FL, USA

- Nashua Scrum Club (March 2011 ) - "Starting your Project off right with Agile Release Planning" - – Nashua, NH, USA

Boston SPIN (Sept 2010) - "Agile - The Basic Roles and Beyond" - – Boston, MA, USA

- AccuRev & Book Launch (April 2010) – “Adapting Configuration Management for Agile Teams: Building Sustainability and Speed” -  – Boston, MA, USA

- Agile New England (April 2010) -  "Building the Right Product and Building the Product Right" - – Boston, MA, USA

- Enterprise Software Development Conference (ESDC) (March 2010) – “Adapting to Continuous Integration and Build: Considerations for Deployment  - San Mateo, CA, USA

- OPEN New England (March 2010) -  "Agile for Executives and Leaders" - – Boston, MA, USA

ALM Expo (Oct 2009) - Keynote speaker - "Agile and ALM" -  - Worldwide Webinar 

- Boston SPIN (May 2009) - "Modern Approaches to Infrastructure: On Premises or In the Clouds" - – Boston, MA, USA

- AccuRev Software Configuration Management Seminar (May 2004) “Systematic Process for Selecting a Valuable Configuration Management Product” - – Boston, MA, USA

- Swedish Configuration Management Summit (November 2001) – “Crawl, Walk, Run! - Challenges in Implementing Configuration Management in a Complex Environment” – Stockholm, Sweden

- System Configuration Management : 9th International Symposium (SCM-9)  (September 1999) – “The 3 Software Configuration Management Implementations Levels” Tutorial - - Toulouse, France

Articles where Mario has been quoted or written about:

Book Review on The Agile Enterprise: Building and Running Agile Organizations for InfoQ by Ben Linders - - Jun 2017

Qualities of the Agile Enterprise and Why They Matter -Interview with Mario Moreira by Ryn Melberg via the Guardian Podcast - - May 2017

Agile Animal Farm by Pierre E. Neis - - See slide 5 - Dec 2015

Portuguese companies must combat risk aversion to regain the Vision of Discoveries by SapoTek- (translation in English at: - Oct 2015

Book Review on Being Agile: Your Roadmap to Successful Agile Adoption for InfoQ by Ben Linders - - Oct 2014

Documentation in Agile: How much and when to write it for InfoQ by Ben Linders - - Jan 2014

Applying CM to Agile Teams: A Look Back by Joe Townsend - - Aug 2012

Winning with Agile and the Cloud in CA Technology Exchange - - Nov 2011

Solving the Puzzle: Configuration Management in Agile Development: by David Ramel - - April 2010

Review:  Adapting Configuration Management for Agile Teams: by Rich Mironov - - Jan 2010

Mario in the News:

Review: The Agile Enterprise - - May 2018

Winchester's Moreira writes on business principles - - July 2017

Q&A on the Book Agile Enterprise - May 2017