What is User Story Mapping? Steps, Examples + Best Tools Available

What is User Story Mapping? Steps, Examples + Best Tools Available

Deskera Content Team
Deskera Content Team
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

When was the last time you were involved in a deep discussion with your team to overcome backlogs or to finalize a strategy to launch a new product?

Backlogs, as well as product launch, can be exciting as it pushes the team to complete the project on time and even put overwhelming pressure if you have no idea about where to start and how to complete the project.

When there are times you are faced with this puzzle and have no clue to resolve the problem of the pending project, here is where user story mapping comes into the picture.

Let's get to know how this technique can be useful in completing your backlogs and even help you understand customer perspectives while buying a product.

User Story Mapping

What is User Story Mapping?

User story mapping, a concept invented by Jeff Patton is nothing but a visual imagining exercise. It is a process in which you, the product supplier, shall visualize the user's journey of the product - right from start to end. If you consider the complete scenario, it shall also examine and find solutions to the points of friction - in this case, customer complaints about the product, low sales and others, and even find solutions to these problems.

Now that you have a basic idea of what it is, let's go into some deeper details. In simple terms, user story mapping is a short, succinct and easier description of a new feature/ product but told from the customer's point of view. This is done to convince the buyer why that product is really useful and should be immediately bought. To summarize,

  1. Discover project goals
  2. Map the user journey
  3. Brainstorm and come up with effective solutions
  4. Organize and distribute tasks in the team on a priority basis
  5. Slice out the Minimum Viable Product - add features extensively

MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

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Why is this technique used?

This technique is seen as a valuable tool for the development of any product - mostly software. But if you see it from a different angle, it can be utilised for all products and in all fields. The user story mapping outcome can be considered as a better understanding of the buyer's psychology and what goes on in his mind while buying a product.

To expand on this idea, this technique takes into account all types of questions that might arise in the customer's mind. It is the brainstorm for a product manager to dump all these questions into his team's mind while developing a new product or when a new feature is added to an existing product.

Once you sync in this tool for your products, story mapping just brings along everyone in the picture. With this, you can streamline your releases for new products, updates and even new features because user stories help prioritise and schedule your work.

Benefits of User Story Mapping Tool

The purpose of user story mapping is to assist the project managers and the product development team to have concrete, clearly defined work to ensure the product is available for the end-users on time. In the end, the primary benefit of using story mapping is to provide a delightful experience to the customers.

Story mapping usually refers to the encapsulated tasks that a customer would take from beginning to finish in their journey. If your team and project manager has already executed this user story map in your project cycle, you will see these benefits -

  1. Creates superior visualization journeys during the planning of the project
  2. Enables and enhances product discovery
  3. Promotes lean thinking
  4. Helps understand the customer perspective
  5. Permits project iterations on urgency when largely required
  6. Empowers the team to have a deeper understanding of the product features
  7. Encourages shorter and smaller release cycles to give timely updates
  8. Guarantees more informed and clear descriptions to the stakeholders
  9. Facilitates transparency and better knowledge sharing between product development and design teams
  10. Focuses on maximising value for the end-users.

Steps of User Story Mapping

Whether you are bringing a new product into the market or adding salient features to an existing one, the end-user should always be your prime focus. When you give extra attention and focus to the customers, you ensure their demands are heard and have a bigger chance to attract new customers. To ensure this technique is rightly implemented, you need to make sure the following steps are followed in the user story mapping tool to get the desired outcome.  

Know your users

When you are launching a new product or adding new features to an existing one, first do a thorough analysis of your primary and secondary users.

Discover the problem

What problem is the user-facing and what services are you willing to offer to overcome it.

Map activities of your user

The user interaction comes when his actions are mapped. As Amazon recommends your next buy based on the past purchases of products, user mapping stories do tell the actions of your users and give a greater insight into each activity.

Map their stories under their respective activities

Under each story there can be multiple other stories that are linked, thus making the user understand your customer-centric approach. It makes him stay and closely observe your product from a broader perspective and even know your willingness to create a seamless customer journey.  

Give ranks and position to the stories - from most important to least required

Once you have identified and mapped the stories, prioritize and rank the stories vertically according to their visibility. It will help you understand which stories have had a significant impact on the customers.

Identify the roadblocks and bottlenecks in user story mapping

Once you start the user story mapping technique, you will understand the bottlenecks or other issues that might affect your production rate. It can have an adverse impact on sales if the concerned product is in high demand during the discount period and even have an impact on your audience.

Plan your user story map sprint

All your user story mapping will come into effect and bore fruits in the project planning phase. Once you have prioritized your stories, you can further distribute and batch them out to particular team members with clear instructions of how to proceed forward towards completion.

Examples of User story mapping

Most software professionals have heard the name of this concept and are also already using the user story mapping tools for mapping practices and giving attention to their customers' likes. These digital tools make the whole product development lifecycle be on track and ensure timely addressing of customer problems. There are a number of best tools available in the market today that are adequate examples of user story mapping in the technology industry. Let us check out these tools -

1.Visual Paradigm User Story Map Tool

If you have a very large collection of stories, then this is the go-to tool for user story mapping. It offers 4 key components that are necessary for your story map: User Task, User Activity, User story and Epic. It provides support on level-3 and level-4 for mapping complex backlog.

2. Avion

This is a really easy-to-use tool and takes less time for hands-on. It makes the story mapping look simpler and even integrates with Jira, Trello, Azure, Slack etc.

It offers the following features -

  • Supports detailed user journey descriptions
  • Shares and personifies story maps
  • Plans your product releases well in advance
  • Spots the team dependencies
  • Keeps your workflow in check
Image Address: https://www.avion.io/dist/img/avion/home/avion-app.jpg

3. Miro user story mapping

This is an online collaborative whiteboard in the form of a user story mapping tool. It allows multiple distributed teams to collaborate and work together on various aspects of the project cycle. With this tool, you can do effective brainstorming, make digital sticky notes during the planning process and even handle agile workflows.

Image address: https://images.ctfassets.net/qop92tnevinq/pIjPMtPP45xefIOoZctm8/997f274d029b7d6e6012ebdee66cc392/user_story_thumb_web.png?fm=webp&q=80

A few other known names include - Agile user story mapping for Jira and Featmap.


Creating the right user story map takes time. Dedicating sufficient time to choosing the right user story mapping tool shows how highly you value your customers which are the essential part of your business. It can help you in the long run when you bring a new product into the market and even when you are thinking of expanding your business. Deskera can offer you greater insights on business with our other blogs. So, don’t forget to check them out!

How Deskera Can Assist You?

Whether you are a sales manager or running your own business, there are tons of duties and responsibilities that you have to fulfill. Using the Deskera CRM system, you can manage your contacts, leads and sales deals. You can use the CRM system to manage all customer data and manage your leads, sales negotiations and deals.

Doing so will help you to save the time taken in transferring customer data between the different systems. Having a good CRM system will help you manage your financial and sales reports and be prepared to kick-off your meetings.

Deskera can also assist you with real-time updates about your business like cash flow status, customer satisfaction, inventory management, sales, purchases, purchase orders, customer tickets, customer satisfaction, managing leads, revenues, profit, and loss statements, and balance sheets.

Moreover, it would also help in integrating sales methodology across different platforms onto one system so that you have a consolidated list for email campaigns, leads management, and sales pipeline to mention a few.

It will also help you to sync between your orders, payments, taxes, refunds, product variants, sending out invoices and reminders, facilitating invoice management, and even undertaking follow-ups and advertisement campaigns.

Such a consolidated platform will help you to improve your sales through building effective sales compensation plans and also facilitate faster and well-informed decision-making. It will help you in strengthening your opportunities and being braced for the threats.

Deskera books and Deskera CRM will also be able to ensure the highest customer satisfaction and thereby an increase in net revenues and net profits.

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  1. User story mapping helps in generating a superior visualization of your customer’s behaviour while launching a new product or adding new features
  2. It gives you a fair idea about your customer’s behaviour and what impact certain steps can have on your business
  3. With an effective user story mapping tool, you can identify the bottlenecks in the workflow and even the product development lifecycle. This can help you take effective steps in advance to ensure your business is not hampered at any cost
  4. With this technique, you can have shorter and timely release cycles of your product to stay in the news and be on the top of the minds of prospective buyers
  5. By knowing different personas through this user story mapping tool, you can eliminate hard backlogs and ensure tasks are completed within time
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