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Story Mapping is a lightweight and highly collaborative product design method invented and popularised by Jeff Patton.
Story maps provide a great basis for discussing what your users need and why. Engaging with stakeholders also ensures that everyone involved in a project has a common understanding of the goals of the software. Story maps help you prioritise development to deliver the biggest impact, while focusing on your users’ needs.
Using a story board to encourage discussion is the first step towards establishing how a user interacts with the system. The user’s progress through the system is typically arranged horizontally, from left to right. User stories are generally broken down into smaller parts, arranged vertically by priority. This makes it easy to discuss what the system should do, identify must-haves and nice-to-haves, and keep track of the bigger picture. Once everyone has a shared understanding of the system’s requirements, you can define acceptance criteria as a reference to check whether the final system does what it should.
Traditional story maps are created using sticky notes, and develop organically as the discussion progresses. While this is an excellent method for fostering discussion, documenting the results electronically can be difficult. SpecLog makes it easy to capture your story maps electronically, and refine them as they evolve. In addition to capturing system requirements electronically, you can synchronise the data in SpecLog with TFS and JIRA. SpecLog thus functions as a bridge between traditional story maps using sticky notes and your product backlog. And unlike sticky notes on walls, story maps in SpecLog can easily be shared with others or taken with you.
Learn more about Story Mapping in Jeff Patton’s book
Further information on Story Maps
Impact mapping is a strategic planning technique that ensures that organisations focus on their goals and reaching their targets while building products and delivering projects. These goals are achieved by clearly communicating assumptions, helping teams align their activities with overall business objectives and make better roadmap decisions.
SpecLog allows you to capture and manage impact maps electronically, as well as link them to your detailed product backlogs and story maps.
- Learn more about Impact Mapping in Gojko Adzic’s book.
Impact mapping can help you build products and deliver projects that make an impact, not just ship software.
Specification-By-Example is a concept that helps clients, developers and testers to collaboratively discover and describe the details of a project’s domain, and build up a shared understanding.
Specification-By-Example is a useful requirements analysis and engineering technique suitable for agile project teams. Specification-By-Example allows user stories to be redefined at short notice (just-in-time) and measure the success of their implementation by means of acceptance criteria. Specification-By-Example often extends to automating tests using tools such as Cucumber or SpecFlow, in order to automatically verify the correct implementation of user stories and provide a living documentation of the system’s behaviour.
Using business-readable examples to drive development is often referred to as “acceptance test driven development” (ATTD), an extension to the outside-in approach of TDD. SpecLog supports you in adopting an agile approach to software development while building up a living documentation of your system, whatever your method of choice.
You can learn more about Specification-by-Example in Gojko Adzic’s book.
Further information on Specification by Example
- Book: Bridging the Communication Gap by Gojko Adzic
- Presentation: Specificiation-By-Example by Christian Hassa
- Tutorial: Implementing Specificiation-By-Example with Gherkin by Christian Hassa
- Presentation: Specification-By-Example with Gherkin by Christian Hassa. You can also watch the video of the talk
- PDF: Tests and Requirements, Requirements and Tests: A Möbius Strip by Grigori Melnik & Robert C. Martin
- Channel 9: David Starr of Microsoft talks agile development and showcases both SpecFlow and SpecLog (from 36:00)