Story Mapping for Your Internal Team

Our team uses story mapping to strategize with customers. It allows for collaboration by creating a story of what a product will look like and how it will be built. From a Project Manager’s internal perspective, story mapping is incredibly helpful. Not only does it help your Design and Development teams move quickly, but it also creates a more accurate product. Below are some of the reasons internal story mapping makes for a better project experience.

Take care of your customers!

In every project, there are two types of customers: external and internal. Your team members (internal customers) are the people creating the deliverable. They turn the vision into a reality for your valued external customer. The work a Product Owner does to understand the features and priorities of the client is valuable. This information drives the team’s success. The team is faster and more accurate when work is done upfront. Story-mapping provides added clarity around expectations for the customer and team. Everyone is on the same page without having to have gobs of meetings and wrangling 15 people together. 

Do what you do best!

Design and Development teams love to do what they are best at and who can blame them? They like to select a layout, create a User Interface kit or dig into code. Their time is precious. Decisions pertaining to priority, requirements, and expectations should be made ahead of time. This allows your team to focus on creating a deliverable for customers, reduces stress and speeds up workflow.

The wonderful aspect of having a Product Owner is that they talk with the customer prior to any internal meetings. They have worked diligently to understand the problem(s) and how the created product will help resolve them. They understand what the customer is interested in and what can be put on hold *for now*. Setting high-level benchmarks and creating a story map for the team is the owner’s next step. This helps identify how the product will be built. Furthermore, it will help the team ask detailed questions and catch holes in functionality or design ensuring that you are creating the best product possible. 

What does it look like?

The Product Owner separates the high-level ideas into epics in which more detailed features and tasks can be placed. Timelines help and so does color-coding. Color-coding helps as you build a Proof of Concept (POC) or a Minumum Viable Product (MVP). The map visually displays must-have features, possible [awesome to have] features and ones that can wait.

Creation of an internal story map can save time, energy and can show your team where to focus. It is a place where you can aggregate ideas and pick the most important ones to pursue for your customer.

Creating story maps in a tool like Miro lets the Product Owner experiment and make notes with the team. Therefore, plans don’t have to be recreated in Jira which can get messy at times. 

Understanding and organizing the project at the beginning is always worth the time and effort. Furthermore, it sets your team up for success.

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