#strategy #product - 2 mins read

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
  • Prioritise
  • Determine MVP
  • Slice into deliverable chunks
  • Compare alternatives
  • Shape teams
  • Surface dependencies

Story illustration

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.