>Story Map

A signpost to the future


Gaining insight into the scope, coherence, completeness and prioritization of customer requirements. To this end, we bring stakeholders and team together to create a shared view and workable phasing in delivering value.


The team and customer representatives work together to visually categorize the workload and plot it over time. For this purpose, all customer wishes are printed in postcard format and positioned on a large wall, table or on the floor.



Story mapping consists of ordering user stories along two independent dimensions. We arrange user activities along the horizontal axis in rough order of execution. Down the vertical axis, it represents the details of these activities. This video shows the steps to create your Story Map.

Play Video

To Work

Do this exercise with your team and users to get a feel for Story Mapping.

  1. Each participant writes down all the activities that were necessary for him/her to get to work this morning on sticky notes. One activity per sticky note.
  2. Hang up all sticky notes with activities.
  3. Take turns adding structure by performing one of the following actions:
    a. Ask a question about an activity that is not clear to you.
    b. Remove a duplicate action or an action that clearly falls under any of the other actions (for example, “put toothpaste on your toothbrush” falls under “brush your teeth”).
    c. Group two activities that have a clear relationship or the same goal.
    d. Indicate that you see no possible improvement and pass your turn to the next person.
    Continue this until no one sees an improvement.
  4. From the structure that has arisen, think of themes that reflect the purpose behind the activities. Place a sticky note above the activities for each theme.
  5. Arrange the activity sticky notes under the appropriate themes.
  6. Sort the activities by theme by importance, most important at the top and least important at the bottom. Activities are only displayed next to each other under a theme if they are an alternative to each other (for example, showering and washing).
  7. Imagine: you overslept and you have ten minutes left before you have to leave the house. There is a very important meeting that you must attend. What do you do and what not. To indicate this, each team member draws a squiggly line between the activities. You still do those activities that are above the line. You don’t do those below the line anymore.
  8. Discuss the differences in insight with each other. How can the insight you gain from this be applied in the planning of your work?

Then you use the same steps to get a joint picture of your customer needs.


The story map was devised by Jeff Patten. See his book User Story Mapping, among others.

You find a more detailed description of this technique in section 5.3 Story Map in our book Connective Teamwork (EN, NL). The book helps you set your team in motion with a practical 5-step plan and 20 teamwork techniques.

You can learn more about and practice this technique in our Connective Team Coach Training Course.

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