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Tips for Facilitating a User Story Mapping Session

12.29.2012
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In an earlier post I described how to create a user story map. Here are a few additional tips that you might find helpful.

User Story Mapping Series

* How to Create a User Story Map
* Tips for Facilitating a User Story Mapping Session

Tip #1. Silent Brainstorming isn't mandatory. 
While using silent brainstorming is great for creating a map, you don't always need to use it. Sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where a full set of requirements has been written or the app is a re-write of an existing and well known application. In those cases I often skip the silent brainstorming and create the map from the existing documentation. Of course, I still do this with the team.

Tip #2. For your first map, reference the email map.
When you are creating your first map you may find that some people have difficulty finding the right level of detail for the second row in the map ("things people do" - the user tasks). In order to reduce the confusion walk them through the first two rows of the email map first. You can simply write the basic map on a few post-its as an example:

Finally, as they are writing their 'things people do', walk around and take a look at what they are writing. Encourage them when they are writing the correct level of detail ("Compose Email") and ask questions when they are getting into too much detail ("Set an email to High Priority").

Tip #3. Tear horizontally, not vertically
There are two ways to tear a post-it note off of the pad. If you tear it off horizontally (left to right or right to left) the post-it note will lie flat when it is stuck onto the wall. If you tear it off vertically (bottom to top) then it will have a curl.

Tip #4. Big Post-its
Quite often it isn't possible to create your map in the team room. If this is true for you then create your map on the large 3M Easel pads so that it can be transferred back to the team room.

Tip #5. Use name brand post-its
Post-its made by 3M seem to stick longer than other brands.
Published at DZone with permission of Steve Rogalsky, author and DZone MVB. (source)

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