The Story Mapping Board in Swiftkanban offers you a comprehensive mapping tool to organize user stories into a visual map that communicates the end-to-end user journey from the big picture to actionable user stories. Inspired by Jeff Patton’s famous model, the three levels of the Story Mapping Board helps you to:
- Frame the big picture of user requirements at the first or top-most level that addresses the common goal.
- Decompose it to the smaller, epic level activities and associate them with the user persona at the second level.
- Break the user-driven activities down into smaller building blocks or user stories and associate them with a release strategy.
So, with the Story Mapping Board, you can quickly and efficiently build an MVP version of a product or feature in a Lean-Agile manner and achieve its desired outcomes with faster turn-around time.
Understanding Story Mapping
The structure of a Story Mapping Board is defined in three levels. Each level should have a unique card type associated with it.
At the top/first level of the Board, identify the Usage Sequence on how the functional flow is. These goals are divided into n number of smaller parts (for example – epics) at the second level. Along with the epics, their personas are set at this level. You can have more than one epic and their personas at the second level of the board.
These epics are further broken down into smaller and workable parts (user stories) at the 3rd level of the board. Once the user stories are created, planned and prioritized, they can be tagged to their respective Release or Sprint.
For example, consider you have created two custom cards Theme and Epic and have associated them with level 1 and 2 of the Story Mapping Board respectively. You are developing a mobile app for your eCommerce website. Its high-level goals/themes that you are planning to achieve in the next few months are ‘Find a product’, ‘Examine a product’, ‘Add to basket’, etc. These goals can be defined at the top/first level of the board.
Now, the goal/theme ‘Find a product’ can be divided into epics like ‘Browse product category’, ‘Search a product’, etc. At the same time, you can also define the personas of these epics on the board like Buyer, Seller, Administrator, etc. These epics along with their personas are set at the second level of the board. Once you create user stories of these epics, you can tag them with the release or sprints available at the 3rd level of the board.
By default, UserStory is associated with Level 3 of the board. However, you can associate multiple cards with a level.
Advantages of using Story Mapping
- Helps you visualize your product roadmap.
- Keeps the team members and the customers on the same page about what is happening in the project.
- Depending on the product requirements, it helps you decide the iterations for the delivery of the project.
- It builds shared understanding and collaboration among the team members.
- Sizing, planning and prioritizing the workitems becomes easy.
- To use the story mapping feature in SwiftKanban, one must have the supporting license. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to know how to avail it.
- The Story Mapping board has three levels so make sure you have three unique card types defined in the project to associate with the three levels of the board.
Configuring Story Mapping screen
To configure the Story Mapping in SwiftKanban, you must enable the Story Mapping plugin. To enable the Story Mapping plugin, perform the following steps:
Note: You must have Admin access to configure the Story Mapping Screen in Kanban.
- Click the Admin menu, select Admin, and select Plugins.
- On the Plugins page, select the Story Mapping plugin and click Enable. The Story Mapping Setup window is displayed.
3. In the Story Mapping Setup, enter the following details.
- Story Mapping UI Server URL: It is the front-end URL of Story Mapping Service. E.g. http://192.168.101.100:5000/
- Story Mapping Data Server URL: It is the back-end URL of Story Mapping Service. E.g http://192.168.101.100:8082/storymapping
- Swifkanban URL: It is the URL of the instance. By default, it will show the URL of the source system.
- Admin Login ID: It is the Login ID of the Integration user for the logged-in account. This user will be used to communicate between the Story Mapping Board and SwiftKanban using REST API calls.
- Admin Password: It is the password of the Admin Login ID.
Note: For more information about Configuring Story Mapping Screen, refer to the Story Mapping Deployment document.
Navigation for Story Mapping Board
To open the Story Mapping Board, select the Story Mapping option from the Board menu.
Story Mapping Board Layout
The Story Mapping Board in SwiftKanban has the following sections.
- Level 1
- Level 2
- Level 3
The toolbar in Story Mapping Board helps you perform the given operations:
- Zoom level – As the name suggests, Zoom level helps you get the better visibility of the cards (with their ID and name) on the board.
- Add Card – It helps you create a new card on the Board. To create a new card on the Story Mapping Board using the tool bar, perform the following steps-
- Click the Add Card
- Select the card type that you want to add. Depending upon the selected card type (and the level it is associated with), the level of the board opens in a pop-up window showing the position of the columns. The columns that are already occupied are shown in a dark shade while the available spaces are shown in light space.
- Select the column or position of that card on the board.
- Click Next. The Card details pop up window appears.
- Enter the card title, description and select the Release and Sprint for the Card.
- Click the Save button. The card is saved successfully on the selected locations.
Note: The card created in Story Mapping board will also be shown in the Kanban board and they can only be deleted or modified from the story mapping board only.
- Layout Editor – The layout Editor helps you add a new column or delete an existing column in the level 1 of the board.
To add a new column or delete an existing column –
- Click the Layout Editor A small toolbar appears on each column of the level 1 excluding the column 1.
- Click the Insert 1 Column left, Insert 1 Column right and Delete Column to add or delete an existing column. The column is added or removed.
Note: You can’t delete a column if it has cards in it. Only an empty column can be deleted.
- To go back to the board view, click the Back to Board button on the Toolbar.
- Show WBS – WBS stands for Work Breakdown Structure. So, when you click the Show WBS button, it shows you the WBS code on level 1 and level 2 cards along with their ID and Name. It helps you to know the linking between the cards of the first and second level of the Board.
- Setting – It helps you set cards at the three levels, set personas at the second level and select the option (Release or Sprint or both) that you want to tag cards to at the third level.
To do the settings of the Story Mapping Board, click the Settings icon on the toolbar. The Story Mapping configuration dialog box appears with the following sections in it-
- Associate Card Type to Levels – In this tab, you can set the cards to be used at the three levels of your board. It enlists all the card types that are defined in your Kanban board including the custom cards. Once you select a card type for level 1, it won’t be shown for level 2 and level 3. Similarly, the card type selected for level 2, won’t be shown for level 3. You can associate more than one card type for any level of the board.
To select a card type, click its name under the bar of that level and similarly, to remove a selection, click another card type and deselect the previous one.
Note: Each level must have at least one card type associated with it.
After selecting the card type for all the three levels, click the Save button or click the Reset button to reset the settings.
- Define Persona – This tab helps you define personas of your project at the second level of the Board. You can set multiple personas at this level (each row having a unique persona). By default, there are three personas on the board.
To set a persona, click the Define Personas tab in the Story Mapping Configuration dialog box and enter the following details-
- Icon – Contains the profile pic of the persona. You can either select from the given icons by clicking the drop-down icon or upload an image from your system by clicking the image and selecting the Attach option.
- Name – Enter the name of the persona which will be shown on the board along with their profile picture.
- Persona – Enter the persona like Buyer, Seller and so on.
- Position – Sets the position of the persons in the Story Mapping Board. For example, if you want to show Buyer in the first row and the Seller in the second row then their positions will be 1 and 2 respectively.
- Abbreviation – Short name for the persona. For Example, for Buyer, you can set Buy, for Seller, you can set Sel etc.
- Description – Short description of the personas.
- Action – Contains two icons Save and Delete. As the name suggests, the Save option helps you save the detail of the persona you have entered and the Delete option allows you to delete the filled details.
After saving the details of the persona, click the Save button at the bottom of the diagram.
- Roadmap Planning – It helps you set the Release or Sprint or both for the mapping board (3rd level of the Story Mapping board).
1. Release – Select this checkbox to show all the open release of your project in the mapping board. You can tag a card on the board to one of the releases on the Board.
2. Sprints – Select this checkbox to show all the open sprints of your project in the mapping board. You can tag a card on the board to one of the sprints in the roadmap.
3. Recommended – It will show both releases and sprints of your project in the mapping board. You can tag a card on the board to the given release and sprint.
Note: It will show all the open releases and sprints of the project if the Release Planning and Sprint Planning plugins are enabled.
After selecting the required checkbox, click the Save button to save the changes.
6. Full-Screen view – The Full-screen view helps you see the Story Mapping board in full screen.
At this level the Usage Sequence (on how the functional flow of the project will be) is defined. This usage sequence is broken down in detail in the rest of the two levels of the board.
In level 1, one column can have only one card. The cards at level 2 which are placed in the column under level 1 card are automatically linked to it. The stretch of a column in level 1 is considered before the next card in the same row. For example, if there is a card in column 1 and another in column 4, then until you add any cards in column 2 and 3, they are considered a stretch of column 1’s card. So, all the 2nd and 3rd level cards in column 1, 2 and 3 are considered as column one.
The functional flow of the project at level 1 is broken down into smaller parts at level 2 so that they can be tracked and managed easily. The cards at this level are associated with their personas. You can define more than one card type at this level and add cards accordingly. You can also move the cards to any column you want or link them with the cards at level 3.
The granular level cards defined from the level 2 cards are set at this level of the board. You can set more than one card type for this level. These cards can be linked to level 2 cards which are already linked to level 1 cards and can be moved to any column across level 2 cards.
This level of the board has Releases or Sprints or both (as selected in the Story Mapping Configuration box). The level 3 cards (once planned for the upcoming releases or sprints) are tagged to the respective release and sprints in this level.
How to add a new card?
There are two ways to add a card on the Story Mapping board.
- Add a card by right-clicking
- Add a card using the Add Card button on the toolbar
To add a card by right-clicking, perform the following steps:
- Right-click the column in which you want to add a new card. From the drop-down list, select the card type.
Note: Only those card types will be shown that you have associated with that level in the Story Mapping Configuration dialog box.
- Enter a name for the card.
- Click the Save button. The card appears on the board.
- To enter more details of the card, click the card. The card pop-up view opens.
- The top bar displays the Card type and the Card ID while the main window consists of two tabs – Details and Activity Log.
- In the Details tab, fill the values in the following fields –
Title: Title is the name of the card. You can modify it anytime.
Description: A short description of the card.
Release: Select the release from the drop-down list that you want the card to tag to.
Sprint: Select the Sprint from the drop-down list that you want the card to tag to.
- Click the Save button.
- You can see all the activities performed on the card like date of modification, modified by and any description for that by clicking the Activity Log.
To add a new card using the toolbar, perform the following steps:
- Click the Add Card button on the toolbar.
- Select the Card type that you want to add to.
- From the Select Column to add Card pop-up window, select the cell position where you want the card to be placed.
Note: Cells that are already occupied with a card on them are shown in dark color and cannot be selected for adding a card.
- Click the Next button. The card pop-up view opens.
- Fill all the details of the card as mentioned above and click the Save
How to delete a card at level 1?
To delete a card, right-click the required card and select Delete. Once you delete a card from the board, it can’t be retrieved.
How to link a card to another card?
When you link two cards at the two different levels of the board then the card at the upper level is set as Parent card and the card at the lower level is set as Child card on Story Mapping board. For example, if you associate Card Type Theme at level 1 and Card Type Epic at level 2, then Epic and Theme cards are automatically set as parent and child cards. But such a relationship will not be set via Card Type Links in SwifKanban.
In such case, whenever cards are pushed from the Story Mapping Board to the Kanban Board, the absence of card type links will be mentioned in the Activity Log of those cards. On the other hand, if such a relationship already exists in SwiftKanban, then the parent-child link of such cards will also be reflected in the Kanban Board and via linked cards section of the parent or child cards.
Also, one card can have only one parent card at a time. But one Parent card can have multiple child cards. The relationship of the cards can be seen with the help of WBS code on the cards. When you click the Show WBS button, then all the cards are shown with their code showing their linking with each other.
- Linking of level 1 card with level 2 cards:
The Card Types you associate with Level 1 and Level 2 in Story Mapping Board automatically get linked with each other. So, whenever you create a level 2 card, it gets linked with the level 1 card of the same column. In case, the same column doesn’t have any card at level 1, then it is linked to the level 1 card in the left column.
- Linking of level 2 cards with level 3 cards:
To link a level2 card with level 3 card, perform the following steps-
- Right-click the level 2 card that you want to link with level 3 cards and select Link.
- Select Add Children. A bar appears at the bottom of the page.
- Select the card(s) from the level 3 that you want to link with level 2 card.
- Click the Save
Note: Card at level3 can have only one parent card. Those cards which are already linked won’t be shown for new linking.
Click Reset to select a different card.
How to move a card?
Cards in level 1 can only be moved to an empty column which means all the rows starting from level 1 to level 3 of that column should be empty. The level 2 and the level 3 cards can be moved across all the columns in that level.
To move a card, select the card and drag it to the required column before dropping there.
Note: Moving a card may break the existing relationship. For example, moving a card at level 2 to another column will break the relationship with its parent card at level 1 and will re-establish a new relationship with another parent card at level 1 based on its column position.