How to build a user-centered backlog
I’m going to explain how to write a user story map.
Story maps are a tool for framing product requirements in a user-centered way.
Unfortunately, most product backlogs are feature or solution-centered, but raw unsolved problems are the root of innovation.
If you learn this, you’ll strengthen your understanding of your user’s problems, and become a better product leader.
Solutions come and go but problems are persistent
This is why user and journey-centered product leadership is better than delivery or solution-centered leadership.
- If you keep making a better X, you’ll miss disruptive opportunities
- Understanding problems allows you to design solutions
We’re going on a journey of journeys that’ll help you lead your product to new heights with user-centered thinking.
Step 1: Find a “journey” that your user embarks
Take an important function your user has, and write it down.
As an entrepreneur opening a business, one “journey” is attaining a business license.
Other examples: Get the groceries home, checkout at the coffee shop.
Step 2: Break that journey into smaller “steps”
Journey maps are great for visualizing high-level flows, but they don’t go to the step-by-step detail that the user story map does.
Research the license requirements for a business operating at my address.
Other examples: Open the car trunk, get out my payment method, etc.
Step 3: Break that journey into “user stories”
Small things that a user may do in completing that step.
By this point, the problem is specific and the solution may be obvious.
As an entrepreneur, I need to download the license application for my business’s city, so I can fill it out and submit it.
Others: Open the trunk door with my voice. Biometrically access my credit cards.
Here’s when we start to think of solutions; the tactical common denominator between users’ experiences and the features we build.
We can imagine the solution even if there isn’t one already.
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