User Story Mapping

User Story Mapping

Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product

O'Reilly, 2014 more...

Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Overview
  • Concrete Examples


Not many high-tech executives can draw a link between baking a cake and building software. But with style and wit, Jeff Patton provides a master class on the importance of creating a solid recipe for corporate creativity. The pivotal ingredient, he says, is the exchange of stories. Designers, analysts and clients can use words and images to share narratives and ideas. Within an exchange of stories, corporate creators and their clients can draw maps for designing, testing and launching new products, including software.


Unfortunately, for many companies, the creative process resembles a game of “telephone.”

Children like the game called “telephone.​​​” The rules are simple. One player whispers a message to another player, who whispers that phrase to another. From player to player, the message moves around the table. The last player in the chain recites the message he or she received, which usually proves to be a garbled or unrecognizable version of the original. That final message reveals a huge gap between the original phrase and the final message. A variation of this game takes place in corporations during the process of creating new products, including software. 

Misunderstandings, mixed messages and flawed communication dramatically impair creative and collaborative efforts in many offices. Even written instructions and boardroom presentations can spark conflicting visions of an idea or problem. Fortunately, story mapping – a process of sharing narratives, insights and goals – offers a path toward effective collaborations.

Professional bakers’ creativity offers lessons to software ...

About the Author

Jeff Patton is an independent consultant specializing in user-centered design processes, a corporate trainer and coach, and a public speaker about the software industry.

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