In large projects, collaboration and teamwork are often crucial to make progress iterative and incremental progress possible over time. The reality is that the more complex the project, the more difficult it is to reach the final goal: connect with the end-user.
Software Development projects, for example, in which the team must carry out complex Testing & QA processes to ensure that the final product meets customer expectations, it is vital to have a simple mechanism that allows monitoring of that all development is directing its resources to meet its needs.
Here is when techniques such as User Story Mapping become a reliable way to create participatory projects in which it is possible to combine the vision of users and developers in a balanced and functional way, creating representative prototypes that help to glimpse the result. final and promoting teamwork.
What is User Story Mapping?
Is a technique that facilitates the delimitation of the requirements of a service or product from the collaboration of the user and the developers, so that the essential functions can be determined – which is called Minimum Viable Product or MVP under its acronym in English – thereof.
In large-scale projects, the User Story Map can be broken down into two dimensions: the horizontal dimension –also known as Customer Journey– and the vertical dimension, which will allow the actors involved in the project to be identified directly (users ) and indirect (developers).
Initially, it can be difficult to implement and much more difficult to identify, especially when many steps are being taken in the development of a project. In general, it helps us to develop each of the points of the project that have some type of direct or indirect interaction with users. During the development process, we seek to identify each of the variables that will come into contact with the user, such as activities, waiting times, minimum needs, information, interaction with visible content, login, among others.
It also serves to create a user archetype that facilitates the identification of steps that the user will take when he is using the final product or service, as well as visual designs of each phase of the project to have a vision of what the user will experience at each stage.
This can be done in two ways: by making an archetype of the user model (also known as Customer Journey) or by determining the characteristics that the product will have as a minimum – also called as horizontal dimension and vertical dimension, respectively.
Designing an archetype of user model (Customer Journey)
A card is made with all the characteristics of a user, so that it can be identified as if it were a real person (in large projects, the ideal is to have several cards, which will represent different users who will facilitate the tests).
In this way it is possible to identify the parameters by which the project can be developed, having each of the users as participants. This phase can be applied as many times as necessary, in order to identify all the existing user archetypes.
Determining the minimum characteristics of the product
The second way is not much different from the first, but in this the focus is on the user and type of Customer Journey. From this point it is possible to determine what are the steps that will affect the project or even those events that may be important in the final resolution of the project.
At Huenei IT Services, for example, we provide multiplatform UX / UI design service, so if the project changes in the final phase and the client requires a custom mobile application, we can provide mobile development without any problem.
Beyond optimizing resources by directing all the effort to solve the real needs of users and the key functionalities of development, we find that:
- It makes it easier to make a product from scratch, making it much easier to correct mistakes and evolve your processes in the future.
- It is possible to detail threads of the main process that were hardly detailed at the beginning. These are vital to create tailor-made solutions, improve decision-making in the future, know what to prioritize, among other things.
- It facilitates the identification of one or more versions of the product that you want to deliver to the user before delivery, so that they define the characteristics and functions that it will have.
- It helps to prioritize the activities that must be carried out at the time to avoid delays.
- Analyze each of the activities performed by the user to create a completely level systemic structure.
- Help control User Stories in different environments, so that each person on the team can keep track of each of the movements made in real time.
- It controls delays or failures of all kinds in a general and structured way, so that it is much easier to foresee future events that may harm the user experience, such as system failures that can be identified by performing a Testing.
- Implement post-its or any other similar tool (such as billboards, for example) to make the process of writing ideas much easier and more dynamic.
- Hold constant meetings to do a collaborative brainstorming where you can discuss topics and come up with creative ideas.
- Keep a record of all information spoken during meetings after you are finished. In this way, it is possible to keep a digital control of the spoken topics to reject them in the future.
Developing projects focused on iterative progress is often a challenge for anyone, especially when the project’s main objectives and purpose are unclear. Teamwork is, without a doubt, the basis of everything, and that is why the implementation of the User Story Map technique is so convenient and easy to execute.
At Huenei IT Services we know that no matter how far you want to go in a project, sometimes choosing a simple technique is the best way to achieve the stated objectives. Software Development Projects, Mobile Development, QA (Quality Assurance) and even the application of outsourcing or outsourcing in IT projects could require a flexible and dynamic technique such as the User Story Map. It is a fairly intuitive method, in which collaboration matters and the individual participation of each participant of the development team is encouraged to come up with ideas that can bring the project closer to its final resolution.
Without a doubt, the impact that story mapping generates on a team’s work dynamics is positive, and beyond facilitating understanding between developers and users, there is the fact of promoting communication within and outside the team, a factor that can make a difference in any project.