A Map

Map!

In response to the recent articles on story mapping, I was asked, “When don’t I use a user story map?” As with many powerful tools, it is easy to want to use story maps in almost every situation; however, there are a few scenarios where story maps are at best overkill or at worst might be wasted overhead.

Small, low complexity efforts. Work that only impacts a small piece of functionality rarely needs the overhead of a story map.  While every team/person has a different perspective on what is small or low complexity, I suggest one basic rule, if the output of the work is a product, feature or application, however small, create a story map to guide the work.

Disjoint accumulations of work. A classic approach in many development organizations is to gather several pieces of work together (often only loosely related) and then to call that work a project.  The whole package might be large and/or highly complex; however, the lack of cohesion between each piece of work is a problem. Creating a story map in this scenario makes little to no sense.

Operational work. A story map for installing servers or scanning documents does not make sense.  In operational scenarios value stream or process mapping are significantly more useful.

A request to all blog readers and podcast listeners –
Starting next week we are going to start a process of picking both the most overused and favorite agile saying.   I have a list, but before we start, if you have a favorite please add it to the comments or email it to tcagley@tomcagley.com.