Template: Story map
Story mapping is probably our most utilised tool here at Hyperact. Whether you're learning the ropes of an existing feature, product or service, or speculating on what a new one may look like.
So we decided to create a story map template all of our own, distilling our learnings from dozens we've previously created.
What is it?
A single, discrete artefact that captures the essence of a feature, product, or service in a digestable, easy to understand format, using simple and plain language. It can help you:
- Illustrate product capabilities
- Foster a shared understanding
- Outline the findings of discovery work
- Determine MVP
- Slice into deliverable chunks
- Compare alternatives
- Shape teams
- Surface dependencies
How to get the most out of it
First, you need to clearly define your objective. Are you looking to distil an existing product or service into a high-level story map? Are you looking to go really granular on a particular area? Are you looking to story map a prospective product or service based on discovery findings? Be clear on your purpose up front.
You can story map solo, or as a group. Our preference is to do this together, as it a) shares knowledge, b) aligns on terminology, and c) tends to cover greater breadth and depth.
You'll need space! Either create a copy of the Story map template on your Miro board and clear down some of the themes and capabilities, or start with a blank canvas and pull in elements from the template as you go.
Start with lower-level capabilities. Within your stated domain, shotgun as many stories as you can onto your board. Timeboxing this to 10 mins can help. If you have a reference point, such as an existing product or a prototype, make sure all participants are familiar with it. Share a link to it. Step through it together beforehand.
Spend 10 minutes consolidating and grouping. Remove duplicates. Order the items logically - left to right as per a customer's typical journey is the usual approach if possible. Add on high-level capabilities and themes if you agree that this adds value.
Give our story map template a go, or try one of our others below:
- Product team canvas - a one-pager where anyone should be able to go to and within minutes have a good grasp of the shape of a product team's domain, be it personnel, tech, ways of working, or wider business context.
- Service blueprint - to help you visualise existing products, create shared understanding, identify improvements, and describe a future vision.
- Decision stack - a distilled view of your vision and strategy, setting the direction of travel for the short, mid, and long-term.