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Project Inceptions with Story Maps and Personas

Creating a backlog of user stories is pretty straightforward but it doesn’t help you when it comes to decisions like what to build first, how to prioritize and groom the backlog, how to scope and plan a project, and how to visualize overall progress.  This is a big challenge for many agile teams especially when beginning a project.  To do this, we need more context.

Personas and story maps are tools that bring the user and their experience to life. They provide context for the work throughout the development stream. Personas generate and capture insight about the customers or users. Story maps are multi-dimensional representations of goals and activities that span the user’s experience from start to finish and become the source for our product backlog. Finer-grained user stories are born from the story map and retain context when flowing through development. This improves the value-based decision making of scoping, prioritizing, planning, and measuring progress through the entire development stream because we have context that ties back to users’ goals and experience.

The session will start with what personas are and how to create them. From there, we will explore the creation of story maps as a group through a real world example. In this collaborative session, attendees will learn new tools for generating a user-centered product roadmap that goes beyond the basic backlog and becomes a solid foundation during the inception of a project.

About the Speaker

Dave Neuman has almost two decades of experience in professional services, software and systems development, and IT including roles from engineering to project management to front-line and director-level management in corporate and services organizations.  Dave currently serves as a Principal with Redpoint Technologies in Milwaukee delivering services to clients in the areas of Enterprise Software, Mobile Solutions, Ruby on Rails, Big Data, and Agility Coaching and Transformation.

Prior to Redpoint, Dave served as Director of IT at Markel Corporation responsible for all aspects of systems development, operations, and strategy within the Personal and Commercial lines of the Specialty business unit of Markel. Dave has led multiple successful agile transformations in his last two organizations. He leverages a broad range of methodologies, frameworks, and experience for leading and coaching teams to higher levels of achievement, creating pathways for delivering value, and improving overall organizational health.  Dave is also passionate about web and mobile technology, business model design and lean startup, and serious game facilitation for solving problems or generating customer, business, or team insights in fun and engaging ways.

Milwaukee Agile is geared toward both experienced and brand new practitioners.  The pizza and refreshments are sponsored by Redpoint Technologies and Robert W. Baird.  The space is sponsored by Northwestern Mutual.

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  • Mike L.

    Thanks for the great presentation. Anyone know if there are any electronic tools to do this kind of thing? Using a wall sounds better but I can see cases were making a small high level one and sending it out by email before a meeting could have benefits. (also as someone pointed out at the lean coffee session, electronic means I don't have to worry about the cleaning people destroying my whole setup . . . ) Thanks

    June 13, 2013

  • Dave N.

    I've used
    I've checked out

    There are many plugins to many Agile tools like Jira, Pivotal, etc that bring user story mapping in.

    Good luck.

    June 13, 2013

  • Dave N.

    Thank you to everyone who attended and participated. Slides have been uploaded and are available on Slideshare.

    June 12, 2013

  • susan s.

    Couldn't agree more Anne! Great presentation - delivered useful information and methodologies to improve on our processes.

    June 12, 2013

  • Anne K.

    The combination of presentation and participation is a great way to reinforce the practices. Well done Dave Neuman! Thanks to NM for hosting, and to Jim, Kaitlyn, Susan and Dorr in my "work group" for an educational and fun evening creating then reflecting "Student Amy".

    1 · June 12, 2013

  • Amy Z.

    Great presentation!

    June 11, 2013

  • Bruce W.

    Unfortunately I won't make it tonight

    June 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry, something unavoidable came up.

    June 11, 2013

  • John H.

    Will this be recorded and available for viewing on the web? I'm not planning to attend since the event filled up before I registered.

    June 10, 2013

  • Carl S.

    This event is scheduled to be held at Northwestern Mutual's west building, which is located at 611 E. Wisconsin Ave, in Room W01NE. Parking will be available at no cost behind the 611 building. The entrance to the lot is located on Van Buren St. At the gate, you should press the call button to notify security that you are here for Milwaukee Agile. You will then need to go to the front of the building and enter at 611 E. Wisconsin Ave.

    The speaker will start around 6.

    3 · June 10, 2013

  • Amy Z.

    What time does the speaker start?

    June 10, 2013

  • zaid

    Like to learn more about agile

    June 6, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Always interested I'm meeting new people and developers.

    May 30, 2013

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  • Robert W. Baird

    Baird provides organization, a location, and refreshments for meetups.


    NVISIA provides food for the sessions and organization assistance.

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