If you research the phrase “user story mapping,” you might begin to think it is a theory and practice reserved just for your development team. However, it has the potential to provide benefits to all areas of your business. Strategic thinking used in story mapping can aid business units from sales and marketing to customer service. If your team invests time to learn the process and build out a roadmap, you will see benefits throughout your organization.
Here are five advantages of understanding and applying user story mapping in all departments:
At every level of an organization, there are lots of moving parts to manage in order to have a successful business. User story mapping allows you to document all your thoughts in one consolidated place. By doing this, you can help prevent those times where you forget what needs to be done. On a user story map, every thought is recorded and is viewed as right. If you later learn you are wrong, you can go back and correct yourself. This prevents ideas from being lost and ensures every voice is heard.
Prioritizing is a direct result of organization. You need to focus on and break down tasks that may feel daunting. Through a user story map, you are able to focus effort and energy on specific areas at specific times. Some tasks may take more time than others, or some might need to be done before you can move forward. When building out a user story map, you are able to discuss what items matter most and rearrange your map to reflect that. Note which tasks need to be done first, what needs to be included in the first release of the product, what features might need to wait for the next project or perhaps what can be removed altogether. By planning out release dates and assigning tasks to specific members, you are able to simplify larger tasks into easily digestible pieces.
Managing a business is just as much about managing people as it is managing projects. User story mapping helps both sides of management. As noted with prioritization, you are able to assign certain pieces of the project to certain teams or individuals. This adds a layer of accountability. Each member is aware of their responsibilities and can focus in on them and provide updates as they progress through the project. If you want a strong work culture, you need a strong level of accountability. User story mapping empowers your team and creates an environment of trust and shared understanding.
It is difficult to obtain a goal or move forward if you are unable to see the end goal. This is why visualization is crucial. A user story map shows your goals from start to finish. It clarifies and makes the end goal more obtainable through a holistic view. It serves as a blueprint for tackling the project at hand. Think of your project as a mountain. Before you start climbing, you stand at the base and see the entire mountain. Next, you strategize to get to the top, step by step. Of course, challenges will reveal themselves and persist throughout the climb. However, by planning ahead, you can be prepared for those challenges. User story mapping enables you to build out your vision from the ground up, from an idea into a product release.
The biggest benefit of all is focus. User story mapping allows you to focus on what really matters. When developing a product, the end goal of your customer is what matters. By building out a user story map, you know how your customer gets to their end goal. This creates your goals of what to focus on. Zone in on the necessary features before spending time elsewhere.
No matter what your role in your company, user story mapping can help you. Before you build out your next product or start your next project, consider trying this new approach. As more and more businesses work remotely, figuring out how to virtually collaborate is becoming a necessity. Find ways to get your entire team on the same page about where you are heading and why. A user story map is a great place to start.