Lyft boosts velocity by 20% with digital user story maps

by Caitlin Mackie, Graduate Marketing Coordinator

30 Sep 2021

Lyft is on a mission to deliver the world’s best transportation for people through shared rides, bikeshare systems, electric scooters, and public transit partnerships. Based in San Francisco, Lyft services are available in over 600 cities across the United States and Canada.


The business had grown significantly in recent years, using agile practices to help deliver great transportation experiences. But Lyft reached a turning point with the sudden shift to working from home after the pandemic hit. Without in-person collaboration and access to physical storyboards, the business needed to find a way to take agile into employee’s homes.

Driving one shared story across the customer journey

For every customer journey at Lyft, there are dozens of teams managing different touchpoints behind the scenes. These teams manage multiple customers and deliver a different experience for each. Lyft relies on Atlassian’s Jira to manage this work, prioritise actions, and ensure teams are achieving optimal flow.

The challenge for Lyft lay in finding a way to keep teams focused on the same end goal while working on different touchpoints and across different locations.

“Many teams may know their mission well, but they might not necessarily know the entire end-to-end goal. When a business grows and scales, its focus on the broader goal can get lost. Having one shared story that aligns teams with what you’re trying to deliver is very powerful”.
John Walpole - Principal Technical Project Manager, Lyft

“Many teams may know their mission well, but they might not necessarily know the entire end-to-end goal,” said John Walpole, Principal Technical Project Manager at Lyft. “When a business grows and scales, its focus on the broader goal can get lost. Having one shared story that aligns teams with what you’re trying to deliver is very powerful”.

Lyft uses user story maps to help share this one story and align work priorities for teams across the business. After the pandemic hit, they had to find a way to replace their physical user story maps in multiple offices and pull virtual teams together - fast.

Moving agile from the office to the home

The business wanted to find a way to make in-office collaboration virtual and help people feel like they were in the same room, working together to deliver for the customer in the real world.

“Making sure we get maximum team flow and great velocity is key,” said John. “So, we didn’t want something that required hours and hours of onboarding, especially when you’re looking at training thousands of people.”

When looking for the best solution, John kept these key questions in mind:

  • Is the solution easy to use?
  • Does it have an intuitive user interface?
  • Do our people enjoy using it?
  • Does it meet our security standards?
  • Will it help increase our velocity?
  • Can it deliver ROI?

Finding the right fit

The business looked into several different products, but found they created more work for the teams. “We had to replace our backlog and scrum set-ups, making it much less efficient. The overheads of managing that saw our velocity go down,” said John.

With Easy Agile User Story Maps, the business found a much simpler process, with an out of the box product that could be used with their existing tools.

“Because we use Atlassian Jira and Easy Agile is built on that, it was natural to our ecosystem and easy to roll it out,” said John. “It was super easy to onboard ourselves because it was incredibly intuitive. You just add the plug-in and it works.”

As part of the roll out, John trained the coaches, who then trained their teams, and so on, until everyone was trained. This process created advocates for agile practices along the way, helping make adoption easier.

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Boosting business velocity by 20%

For Lyft, the key measure of success came down to whether they could deliver more value to both riders and drivers in cities using these tools.

“Since rolling out Easy Agile User Story Maps, we’ve seen a 20% increase across all our velocity metrics,” says John. “This has happened internally across developer metrics and externally with things like call centre volume, help and support tickets, as well as people being stuck and feeling frustrated”.

John has also received positive feedback from the teams across Lyft on:

  • Data representation that’s easy to digest
  • The natural and intuitive drag-and-drop functionality
  • Keeping a single source of truth with no duplication required

Easy Agile User Story Maps brings the user story front and centre to our developers, to our product managers, to our data scientists, and across the board – everyone now has that shared story, or what we call the backbone,” says John.

The future of agile at Lyft

John sees a bright future for Lyft, and it’s focused around scaling agility.

“When you grow to a team of thousands working from home offices across different geographical areas, it can be a real struggle to scale – but Easy Agile helps you do that,” says John.

After using Easy Agile User Story Maps, the business is keen to explore the wider product set with Easy Agile Personas and Easy Agile Roadmaps.

“Personas is something I’m super excited about because we think about Personas all the time, only we haven’t digitised it yet within Jira,” said John. “I’m also really excited about Roadmaps and creating a frictionless planning process.”

“With Easy Agile User Story Maps, the team can get back to doing the work they enjoy delivering, rather than doing admin, status reporting, or learning how to use a complex new tool.” - John Walpole - Principal Technical Project Manager, Lyft

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