Getting started with Easy Agile TeamRhythm

Part one: Story Map Basics

In this module, we'll cover:

  • Brief intro to what a User Story Map is
  • The anatomy of your User Story Map

What is a User Story Map?

Graphical image of a story map

A story map is a visual representation of the journey a customer takes with a product, including activities and tasks they complete. This understanding enables teams to focus development on providing the most value to customers and their desired outcomes.

It provides context for teams by answering the following questions:

  • Why are we building this?
  • Who are we building this for?
  • What value will it provide them?
  • When do we expect to deliver this?

You may have encountered or done Story Mapping using sticky notes on a whiteboard. Easy Agile User Story Maps enables your team to build a story map digitally and host a story mapping session remotely. We'll dive deeper into that in later modules.

New to User Story Maps?

Used to working with a flat backlog and want to know the difference between that and a Story Map? Not sure what to expect from your first Story Mapping session?

Check out this video where Teagan Harbridge, Head of Product here at Easy Agile explains.

The Anatomy of a User Story Map

A User Story Map has a basic anatomy which brings the customer journey to life as well as the work that supports each of the steps in that journey.

The Epic 'Backbone'

At the top of your story map is the 'backbone' of your product represented by epics. It represents your products' core functionality or essential capabilities.

Each epic within the backbone represents high level activities or actions a user would take with your product. These activities should be ordered in the chronological order of how a user would interact with the product, showing the user journey from the beginning to end.


The journey a customer would take to watch a movie on the Apple TV:

Backbone of user journey

User Stories

Below each activity on the backbone we create user stories which flesh out the customer story. Sitting beneath allocated Epics/user activities, these stories represent situations/sceenarios a user may encounter on the way.

These stories are ordered by value to the user.

Value may be identified through conversations with users, analytics on usage patterns, or another form of insight appropriate for your product.

To continue with the Apple TV example, the user stories that would sit beneath 'select movie' may be:

  • free text search
  • browse by genre
  • browse by recent addtion
  • browse by most popular
  • browse by most popular by genre
  • browse by recent addition by genre

Representation of user stories sitting beneath the epic backbone

Sprint / Version Swimlanes

The story map is split into Sprints or Versions which visually represent what is in and out of each release. We'll discuss the process involved in sequencing work into swimlanes, but essentially it's important to remember that the user stories encapsulated in a swimlane reflect the work that needs to be done in that release.

Diagram of a version swimlane

User Story Map breakdown

User Story Map Breakdown

If you want to get started with user story mapping today in Jira, try Easy Agile TeamRhythm. The highly-visual story map format transforms the flat Jira backlog into a meaningful picture of work, making it easier to manage your backlog and plan sprints or versions.