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User Story Mapping by Peter Economy, Jeff Patton

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Chapter 13. Start with Opportunities

Let me point out again how stories are like rocks. And like a rock, when you break it into smaller parts, you can call those parts “rocks” too—just smaller rocks. But there’s always that first rock. That’s the one we’ll need to look closely at to decide if it’s worth breaking up or not. Let’s call it “rock zero.” And in our flow of stories, I’ll call that an opportunity.

I’m using opportunity for ideas that we believe will solve a problem. I’m not just a glass-half-full guy. It’s just that it’s a bad idea to consider every idea as something we need to include in our product, because you know that there isn’t enough time and people to build all that stuff. And, even if you did have the time and people, your customers would be overwhelmed.

Have Conversations About Opportunities

When we come up with ideas, these ideas are often pretty big—but not always. In story lingo, you could call them epics, but I prefer to call them opportunities. No matter what you call them, they’re still stories, and the goal of the first conversations we have about them is to decide whether to move forward with them, or trash them. For each one of these opportunities, we can discuss:

Who they’re for
At this level, it’s often different groups of users, customers, or a target market.
What problems we’re solving
For each type of user, we can talk about what problems we’re solving for them. We’ll need to talk about how they solve their problems today by using manual tools, ...

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