As this goes out, I’m spending some time with the IIBA Central Iowa Chapter sharing how to have more effective conversations with your team by using example mapping. I chose that topic because there’s too much of a focus on writing user stories and not enough on what to do with them to make them useful for your team.
This issue of Inside Product Ownership includes a variety of resources on the technique of example mapping, including a couple of pieces from the technique’s creator, Matt Wynne.
I hope you find these resources helpful and start using example mapping to guide more meaningful, and useful conversations with your team.
Introducing Example Mapping
Before you pull a user story into development, it’s crucial to have a conversation to clarify and confirm the acceptance criteria. Whatever you call this conversation, many teams find it hard; it’s unstructured, it takes too long and gets boring. The result is they don’t do it regularly or consistently, or maybe they just give up on it entirely. Matt Wynne discovered a simple, low-tech method for making this conversation short and powerfully productive. He calls it Example Mapping.
Stories, Rules and Examples
Matt shared these slides from a talk he gave at BDDX2014 where he described the relationship between stories, rules, and examples, and why it can be helpful to use concrete examples to help explain rules.
What do user story conversations look like?
User stories are placeholders for a conversation. Who should be included in those conversations? When do you have these conversations? What should you talk about? How do you remember what you said? I provided some answers to those questions in this Agile Alliance post.
How to build shared understanding with example mapping
This session introduces example mapping, a technique that helps you structure your conversations and build a shared understanding.
How to describe user stories to build shared understanding
Ultimately, example mapping is a technique you use to figure out how to gain a deeper, shared understanding about part of your solution, one story at a time. This post describes some techniques you can use to describe user stories help you build shared understanding of your product and the outcomes you seek.