Instead of creating story maps the old-fashioned way - offline on a physical board - learn which capabilities Story Mapping for Jira provides to bring your user story maps closer to your actual work.
Preparing for a backlog grooming session can be quite draining. Typically, you start filling your empty physical board with sticky notes of the features that you want to implement and discuss with your team. After the productive session, the board is a mess and filled with high-level features jumbled in between user stories and small tasks, sticky notes are flying everywhere, and now everyone is left scratching their head. Sound familiar?
You go back to your computer. Since you want to create a user-centered product, you did your research and decided to use user story mapping as the product design method. Great choice! A user story map helps you define the journey a customer takes with your product. Creating a story map collaboratively ensures team members are on the same page from the start of the project through to ongoing development of new releases. You also popped into your team’s Jira workspace and stumbled upon Story Mapping for Jira. It has a free version. Awesome! You decided to give it a try with the hopes that your next team session will be more organized.
Once you have the Story Mapping for Jira - Free app installed, a Story Mapping menu item will be added to your project menu. Clicking on the Story Mapping tab will display a blank board where you can start working on your story mapping.
Now you can start adding epics into the board. Story Mapping for Jira allows you to do so by creating an epic or by searching for an existing epic from your backlog. Selecting an existing epic from your backlog will automatically import all its related issues which speeds up the process. You can further customize your epics in the board by assigning them with a specific color.
For simple user story mapping, the features provided by the free version of Story Mapping for Jira is adequate for most users. For users who like to take control of their user story map, we also provide a Pro version which offers all the functionalities in the free version and supercharges that with additional features that will surely improve your experience! Let us dive into some of the features that the Pro version gives its users.
A major upgrade that the Pro version gives is it allows you to define custom time frames in the board, which will significantly improve the high level planning capabilities than short-dated sprint iteration provided in the free version. To activate this feature, click on the Custom button in the top right hand corner of the app. A “Create Timeframe” button will appear which you can then select.
You can freely drag and drop your issues to these timeframes without affecting existing mapping to sprint and version. Removing a timeframe with associated issues in it will send the issues back into the unassigned section.
Another feature that the Pro version offers is the sidebar containing backlog issues. It is quite common in projects to have issues linger in the backlog where they will accumulate and be hard to manage and assign. The Pro version remedies that by allowing you to sort Backlog issues by fields such as rank, key, updated, created, and due date. You can also filter the backlog by removing issues with a status of Done.
Story Mapping also allows you to perform several customizations to the data in the board. You can view these settings by clicking on the context menu in the top right hand corner and selecting "Settings".
The first modification that you can do is to customize the fields that you want to display in an issue card. The free version of Story Mapping for Jira only displays the issue summary by default. This is usually enough in smaller projects, but complex projects may want to display other types of information such as important dates and priority level. In the Pro version, you can add these fields to give more information linked to the issue. This will help your team understand the board easily and give better insights regarding the stories.
Additionally, you can also modify the epic issue type by setting the Custom Epic Type value depending on the issue types in your project. Furthermore, you can customize the optional Custom Link Type. The available choices for the Custom Link Type are blocks, clones, duplicates, causes, and relates to.
You can toggle the goal visibility by clicking the ellipsis icon on the top right and selecting Features. Using the Goals feature will help you categorize your epics which can give you a realistic picture of the stories you want to achieve per goal.
By default, Jira only lets you link issues to epics in a one-to-many relationship. Story Mapping for Jira’s Pro version overrides that by introducing the concept of virtual linking, which allows any type to be linked to each other, such as Epics to Epics. You can also use this feature if you don't want to actually change the epic relationships of certain issues or if you want to use a custom issue type instead of Epics. This feature can be toggled in the Settings view.
Once you have decided to use the features provided by the Pro version, upgrading will be very easy. You just have to simply install the Pro edition and make sure to uninstall the free edition of Story Mapping for Jira, as there will be two menu entries otherwise.
Not currently a Story Mapping user? Click here to try Story Mapping for Jira and take advantage of all the features that it provides to help improve your backlog grooming process more interactive and collaborative!