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Background

I'm a huge fan/believer of Jeff Patton's user story map. I'm currently reading his book..

I find using story maps a very effective way in convincing clients to use the lean start-up principles, by forcing them to think long and hard about what features are mvp and which should be released first (ie by visualizing the releases and the backlog etc).

Problem

My problem is that I'm currently working on a very technical solution. It's more about getting a user (B2C) application (that has a lot of UIs) and creating a cloud version of it (B2B) that will be handled by a handful of admins. As part of the estimation we figured out that on the mvp phase we should mostly use command line and not bother too much with UI.

My question is: how can user story maps be used to visualize a project like this where there isn't too much of a user story going on. it's mostly stuff going on at the backend to scale operations of which a UI has already been implemented for the individual consumer.

Example

The following is a list of tasks that I would like to put on a user map, and I'm struggling on how to lay them out:

Backend/API-Basic-Setup
Backend/DB-Model/Setup
Backend/DB-Model/Credit-Cards
Backend/DB-Model/User-Data
Backend/DB-Model/Task
Backend/DB-Model/Task-Machine-Assignment
Backend/DB-Model/Cloud-State
Backend/DB-Migration
Backend/Pubsub-Setup
Backend/Provider/Abstraction
Backend/Provider/Abstraction-Min-Implementation
Backend/API/User-Data-CRUD
Backend/API/Task-CRUD
Backend/API/Task-Machine-Assignment
Backend/API/Bot-Facing-APIs
Backend/Coordination/Task-Scheduling
Dashboard/Login
Dashboard/User-CRUD
Dashboard/Task-List-Management
Dashboard/Task-Create-View
Dashboard/Task-Provisioning
Dashboard/Machines-Overview
Bot/Web-Server-Interface-Setup
Bot/Refactor-Existing-Tasks
Bot/Connect-API-To-Web-Routes
Bot/DB-State-Setup
Bot/Deploy-updates
Bot/Instance-image
  • It is hard to put a technical user story into an end user perspective. Isn't there any other way to put those in a user-centric way? e.g.: As a "Admin", I want to deploy bot updates in the cloud, so that it is easier for me, etc etc..." (Probably not your domain, but just an example). If still that does not make any sense, instead of using the classical format "As a <X>, I wanto to <Y>, so that <Z>", you can use the "<action><result><object><parameter>" format. e.g.: "When deploying a bot update, all instances should be refreshed. The bot update should take as parameter the bot name". – Eduardo Copat Jan 23 '17 at 8:26
  • @EduardoCopat this is interesting, and it's also related to the other question i asked here softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/330701/… about user mapping: so are you saying that every card in the user map must follow the as a X I want to do Y so that Z format? I usually just put generic text like logout or something.. that's not good enough? – abbood Jan 23 '17 at 8:42
  • I prefer to use that format because it makes more tangible the end user benefits when this story is done. – Eduardo Copat Jan 23 '17 at 8:52
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If i understood you correctly

  • you already have many different gui-implementations for an exsting backend-api and
  • you want to modify existing implementation-details of the backend without modifying the api.
  • your goal: convert backend into a cloud app so the app is more scalable

Your question is: In wich order to reimplement "implementation-details"

The answer is similar to the question: "which code to change to optimize performance(speed)" : measure/profile which code slows down the system.

In your case measure which sub-workflow benifts most from a scalable cloud service.

While "storymaps" is a great tool for agile projects in my opinion it is not suitable for your type of project.

note: In my opinion a storymap is workflow/feature oriented, your example tasks are component/modul/architecture oriented.

  • my ultimate goal is to visualize the process of work on these items so as to make the relationship and priority amongst them clear, and visualize what goes in release 1 vs release 2 etc.. story maps does an amazing job at that (at a macro level).. whereas scrumboards does that only at a micro level.. any suggestions for alternatives? – abbood Jan 24 '17 at 4:43

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