User Story Mapping: Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product

by: Jeff Patton (0)

User story mapping is a valuable tool for software development, once you understand why and how to use it. This insightful book examines how this often misunderstood technique can help your team stay focused on users and their needs without getting lost in the enthusiasm for individual product features.

Author Jeff Patton shows you how changeable story maps enable your team to hold better conversations about the project throughout the development process. Your team will learn to come away with a shared understanding of what you’re attempting to build and why.

  • Get a high level view of story mapping, with an exercise to learn key concepts quickly
  • Understand how stories really work, and how they come to life in Agile and Lean projects
  • Dive into a story’s lifecycle, starting with opportunities and moving deeper into discovery
  • Prepare your stories, pay attention while they’re built, and learn from those you convert to working software

The Reviews

“It was at that moment that I learned that the word ‘requirements’ actually means ‘shut up’.”This is one of a great number of simple Jeff quotations that speak volumes and make this book one of the most value-packed, practical books about software product development that I know of. I believe that the book is a must-read for any practitioner of agile/lean software development methods, and potentially anyone involved in software product development.A great thing that separates Jeff’s writing from others is his use of storytelling - he chooses simple tales from his real-world experience that many people can relate to. Jeff’s mastery of storytelling and vast experience give him the ability to get fairly complex ideas across in a way that makes them seem so simple and practical, I feel like I’ve always known them.I could go on about Jeff, but enough about him…back to the content of his book.I wouldn’t have thought that a book focused on story mapping - one single practice amongst the myriad of available practices that sprung (in one way or another) from the agile community - would be one of the 3 core books I (as an experienced agile/lean coach/consultant for over 15 years) recommend to my clients seeking to become more lean or agile (whether or not they are introducing or using agile or lean process specifics). This book is exactly that, because the book is about much more than story mapping, though it uses this simple practice as a frame to: • explore some of the core problems with software product development over the past decades • establish a more powerful language of product management planning, strategy, and execution with “Impact, Outcome, and Output”, opportunity thinking, and product discovery teams • really identify better ways to deliver product incrementally and iteratively • collaborate and discover together - product development teams and customers - • introduce lean thinking as we “minimize output, maximize outcome and impact” • incorporate design thinking into product discovery • correct many of the frighteningly-common misinterpretations of agile methodsAn example of the most important core problems in software development is that of "requirements". The quote above summarizes the essence of this problem - that traditional software development has sought to reduce a complex, dynamic, and continuously evolving concept (learning and understanding what users will need in their products) to a simple set of written instructions, or “requirements”. After reading this book, anyone may feel empowered to discard the word “requirements” completely and replace it with a simple yet powerful approach to “achieving shared understanding”. Making this fundamental, yet simple change to how we approach product development has a host of benefits - from higher quality, to faster delivery, to better estimation, to better products and more successful, happier customers.And this is just one of many powerful learnings from the book...

"Story mapping keeps us focused on users and their experience, and the result is a better conversation, and ultimately a better product." - Jeff PattonWhile user stories are a great tool for talking about user needs, by themselves they aren't very good at helping the team understand the big picture. If you've ever had that feeling that you're missing the forest for the trees, user story mapping can mean the difference between building the right thing, or building the wrong thing.Although he didn't invent user story mapping, Jeff has clearly mastered it and his years of experience are finally available in this book for all to benefit from.Using many actual examples, anecdotes, metaphors, and humor, Jeff spends the first four chapters explaining what user story maps are, what they're not, and how to apply the knowledge you gain by using them effectively. You'll also learn secrets to estimating (which shouldn't be secrets to anyone), development and delivery strategies that help you reduce risk, and how to know if you're focusing on the right outcomes and building the right thing.This is the chapter in which Jeff explains how to build a map. And the good news is (spoiler alert), building a story map isn't hard. Using a simple example of a day in your own life, he walks you through each step and drives home each key concept.Now that you've got a story map, the next six full chapters are devoted to understanding how user stories really work and how to get the most out of them. No matter how much you think you know about stories, you're going to learn some things you didn't know.If the book ended at this point, I think you'd feel very satisfied that you learned more about stories and story mapping than you thought possible. But there's more.Jeff then shares more stories and advice about the user story life cycle, managing your backlog, and lots of things you can do to discover what your product should be.For the finale, you get three chapters devoted to `Better Building'. You'll learn how to conduct user story workshops, how to plan sprints and releases, how to collaborate (and how to not collaborate), and how to get the most from your story maps during the entire delivery process.User story mapping is an essential tool for the tool box of anybody involved in shaping or building a product and this is the definitive book on how to do it well. The skills you'll learn will have a profound impact on your ability to learn, understand, and build great products.

As an experienced developer familiar with scrum and agile approaches, I found the book informative and refreshing. I think I learned some ideas and concepts that I will apply to my next software projects. For example, the discussions about stories, epics, releases, and slices/releases were very helpful - although I knew the concepts and applied them in the past in different terminologies, it was good to see them laid out in an easy to follow manner by the author.The author talks about the importance of having a shared understanding which I thought was a key theme throughout the book. Another key concept that reinforces shared understanding and I took away is when the author says "Because the real value of stories isn’t what’s written down on the card. It comes from what we learn when we tell the story." Lastly, I liked the author's emphasis on the "outcome" desired - it is not what I build that matters but what outcome or value it will bring to the end-users.The book was easy to read and follow - I did feel that some topics were repeated more than once and I skimmed through those parts. I am about to start on a large software project and am glad that I read the book.

I'll update the review once I have fully read it cover to cover, but the first thing that jumped out at me was that there is no table of contents in the kindle version. That's unacceptable, and costs the book 1 star right off the bat. So far, it seems like a good book with a lot of useful info, but I agree with other reviewers that it is too wordy. However that is a problem with most computer science books. Authors either take too long to get to the point or are too repetitive in their writing style.

I came across this book by accident, I was learning about another topic and this subject popped up. I love everything about storytelling so I felt curious how this approach could help to build the bridge between business logic and IT logic, and after carefully reading the methodology that graciously Jeff Patton explains, I immediately knew that I had found a golden tool. Thanks for that Jeff!

While only the first few chapters really focus on the basic practices of user story mapping, the rest of the book is a great treatment of user stories and their role in agile development practices on the whole. There are many eye-opening gems about user stories and how to leverage them throughout the development process that make this book well worth the investment to fully digest. If you are looking to improve how you and your team function and deliver value and impact this is a book that will help you on your journey

User Story Mapping: Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product
⭐ 4.6 💛 1003
kindle: $24.99
paperback: $29.59
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