What are Story Maps?
A typical story map has a hierarchic structure involving user activities and user stories. The story maps tell stories from the user’s perspective and represents the user’s progress through the system as a series of activities. The first step is to describe the user’s progress through the system using a narrative flow that can be depicted using user activities.
Once these user stories have been discussed and defined by your team, the next step is to prioritize development to deliver the biggest impact possible over the next development cycle. User stories are assigned to activities and arranged vertically by priority (higher priority items at the top). Finally the story map is divided into horizontal slices, with each slice typically representing a single iteration or sprint.
What is SpecMap?
Story maps are traditionally created using sticky notes on walls or whiteboards and have proven to be popular amongst agile development teams. However these traditional story boards are not without their disadvantages: walls are not transportable and the physical nature of these maps mean they are only temporary.
SpecMap takes your walls and whiteboards into the digital age, allowing you to create story maps directly within TFS, and to link items on your story map to your backlog in TFS. Your story map is thus only a click away for your development team, and its electronic nature makes archiving easy. Furthermore, your story map can adapt to your development cycle and customer requirements as you progress simply by updating existing items or adding new ones.
SpecMap mimics traditional story maps with sticky notes. You can depict the user journey as a series of activities, place stories on the map and easily create slices. User activities and stories are represented by TFS work items, and slices are linked to iteration paths.
This TFS integration means that SpecMap goes further than just depicting story maps: creating a story map in SpecMap helps you plan iterations in TFS and structure your backlog items in the process. Assigning a user story to a particular activity automatically creates a parent-child link between the two. Adding a story to a slice on the map automatically assigns the story to the iteration/sprint mapped to that slice.