Frances Place: User Story Mapping

Posted in Workshop


This workshop is a crash course in how to use user story mapping as a tool for scoping and prioritising a product backlog with the product owner.
It’ll be a hands-on, interactive session for anyone who’s interested in different ways of exploring backlogs with clients.


Frances ran a really fun and engaging workshop on user story mapping. The group were split into 3 groups and were tasked with story mapping different parts of the day from waking up to getting to work, from getting to work and then getting home after work to bed.

They were given a short back story of the user, the user being someone who had a heavy night and therefore the goal for the user was to do as little as possible.

Frances started off by explaining the different steps involved in creating a story map.

For this activity Frances gave the following example to explain the difference between an activity, task and user story.

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Activity = Getting clean

Task = Clean teeth

User story = As a user I want to floss, so that I can protect my teeth

The groups were then stepped through the following steps:

  • Starting with detailing the tasks the user wanted to accomplish in this section of the day.
  • Then group these into activities (high level goals) to form the backbone of the map.
  • Have everyone in the team work together to add user stories as sticky notes underneath each task. Add the detail of what needs to be done..
  • Get the team to revisit the goal of the user “Doing the bare minimum” and getting them to prioritise the user stories, only pulling the tasks that met that goal into “Version 1” i.e. people agreeing that you have to brush your teeth but you don’t have to shower everyday.


There was lots of laughter as people started writing user tasks. Yes, that reads ‘Open Wine’!

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Some challenging conversations were had when at the end of the session teams had to run through their section of the day and justify their decisions. A few times being called out by other groups because the goal could be met without undertaking that task.

From a show of hands at the start, very few people had come into contact with user story mapping and by the end of the session people left visibly empowered to give it a try with clients and felt equipped to personally “sell” the benefits in their workplace.

Many were keen to get hold of Jeff Patton’s book User Story Mapping and even give it a go back in the office with a real product!


Further Reading & Slides

Frances’s Blog post from The Girl’s Guide to PM