[Agile Guide] – Story Mapping for Scrum


  • You have a backlog full of stories.
  • You have a set of prioritized features that need to go out with your next release.
  • You are in need of a simple and quick way of viewing dependencies between stories and mapping features and tasks to their corresponding stories.

How can you easily connect the dots? With a story map.

Story maps are a great way to organize your backlog into a logical units for development. Karen Greaves has outlined a very simply way for you to build a story map and get back to workin’!

Her outline simplified:

What do story maps do?

  1. Group related stories together
  2. Break down stories from a user point of view
  3. Help stakeholders focus on priorities first
  4. Help set the goal for the release
  5. Help drive out requirements missed earlier in the planning phase

How do you do this?

  1. Chose user roles for the product
  2. Figure out what each user does within the product
  3. Map those user-roles to User Activity, User Task, and User Sub-Task (Color coordination helps here)
  4. Arrange activities in a swimlane to visualize workflow
  5. Meet with stakeholders and spot check the workflow
  6. On review, make changes
  7. Identify goals of the release with user-specific stories in mind

So bottom line? Story maps are great to elicit the core functionality of a product from a user-centric point of view. It gets the stakeholders to focus on what the customers or users must do in order for the product to be useful. All the other bells and whistles can come later.

Great stuff from Karen Greaves. Read more details below.


5 Replies to “[Agile Guide] – Story Mapping for Scrum”

    1. Decide which of the 3 levels each item is: User Activity (highest level), User Task and Sub-Task (lowest level). Use a different coloured post-it for each level. Focus on breadth vs depth first.
      Arrange the activities so that the workflow moves from left to right in terms of time when the user would perform that function.

      For more info check out the following links:





      A similar idea which has been around quite a bit longer from the XP world is Dimensional Planning


Leave a Reply