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User Story Mapping by Peter Economy, Jeff Patton

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Chapter 16. Refine, Define, and Build

So, now what? If stories are for planning and facilitating discussions in order to build software, all we seem to be doing is lots of talking.

Cards, Conversation, More Cards, More Conversations…

Your first bunch of conversations helped you make sense of an opportunity. You talked about who’d be using your product, and imagined how they’d use it to accomplish something valuable to them. Your conversations went deep enough to break the big opportunity into parts that were small enough that you could tell which parts were important to be in a next product release, and which didn’t matter so much. You collected the stories that described that next viable release into a release backlog.

If you’re clever, and I know you are, your next conversations went deeper into what the software might look like, how it would behave, and how it might knit into your existing product and software architecture. You had these conversations with a close eye on the risky stuff. You sliced up the stories into the parts that you could build early that would help you learn more, faster. And because you’re clever, you segmented your release backlog into stories to take on early to learn, in the middle to build up, and later to refine.

But now it gets real. It’s time to have our best last conversations.

Cutting and Polishing

We’d like to get to work building these things, and we know that building the software that our storytelling describes will go smoothly and predictably if ...

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