Who Should Read This Book?
You should, of course. Especially if you bought it. I, for one, think you’ve made a wise investment. If you’re just borrowing it, you should order your own now, and return the one you’ve borrowed when the new one arrives at your door. However, reading this book offers specific reasons and benefits for practitioners in specific roles:
- Product managers and user experience (UX) practitioners in commercial product companies should read this book to help them bridge the gap between thinking about whole products and user experience and thinking about tactical plans and backlog items. If you’ve been struggling to get from the vision you’re imagining to the details your teams can build, story maps will help. If you’ve been struggling to help others imagine the experience of—and empathize with—the users of your product, story mapping will help. If you’ve been struggling to figure out how to incorporate good UX and product design practice, this book will help. If you’ve been working to incorporate Lean Startup–style experimentation in the way you work, this book will help.
- Product owners, business analysts, and project managers in information technology (IT) organizations should read this book to help them bridge the gap between their internal users, stakeholders, and developers. If you’ve been struggling to convince lots of stakeholders in your company to get on the same page, then story maps will help. If you’ve been struggling to help developers see the big picture, story maps will help.
- Agile and Lean process coaches with the goal of helping individuals and teams improve should read this book. And, as you do, think about the misconceptions people in your organization have about stories. Use the stories, simple exercises, and practices described in this book to help your teams improve.
- Everyone else. When using Agile processes, we often look to roles like product owners or business analysts to steer a lot of the work with stories, but effective use of stories requires that everyone get the basics. When people don’t understand the basics, you hear complaints that 'stories aren’t well written' or that they’re 'too big,' or that they 'don’t have enough detail.' This book will help, but not in the way you think. You and everyone else will learn that xxiv | Preface stories aren’t a way to write better requirements, but a way to organize and have better conversations. This book will help you understand what kinds of conversations you should be having to help you get the information you need when you need it.
This Book Is for You If You’re Struggling with Stories
Because so many organizations have adopted Agile and Lean processes, and stories along with them, you may fall into one or more of the traps caused by misconceptions about stories. Traps like these: (below). If you’ve fallen into any of those traps, then I’ll try to wipe away the misconceptions that lead to those traps in the first place. You’ll learn how to think of the big picture, how to plan and estimate in the large (and in the small), and how to have productive conversations about what users are trying to accomplish, as well as what a good piece of software needs to do to help them.
User story mapping is a valuable tool for software development, once you understand why and how to use it. This insightful book examines how this often misunderstood technique can help your team stay focused on users and their needs without getting lost in the enthusiasm for individual product features.
Author Jeff Patton shows you how changeable story maps enable your team to hold better conversations about the project throughout the development process. Your team will learn to come away with a shared understanding of what you’re attempting to build and why.
Get a high-level view of story mapping, with an exercise to learn key concepts quickly
Understand how stories really work, and how they come to life in Agile and Lean projects
Dive into a story’s lifecycle, starting with opportunities and moving deeper into discovery
Prepare your stories, pay attention while they’re built, and learn from those you convert to working software
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