Story mapping

Nico J. shared this idea 2 years ago
Voting Open

Wouldn't it be nice (like the song from the Beach Boys) to be able to use our number one mapping tool to create story maps?

Has the product development team ever considered building in features for story mapping?

Story mapping is a technique used in agile software development teams as a way to do roadmapping exercises, release planning, divide scope into releases, do prioritising on high level scope, and to visualise the narrow down from high level epics, features, stories, releases, ...

Jeff Patton was the author of a brilliant book on this topic. In the early days we used to do this on walls, using post-it notes. Now, many software companies have already built tools to digitise the technique.

It would be great to make my storymaps using Mind Manager!

Replies (1)


What new features does MindManager need to support story mapping? In principle, it can do all the things you describe, and could show a similar layout to most Post-it Note story boards by combining org chart and list layouts.




Hi Nick! Thank you very much for spending time on my feature idea. I copied your suggestion and you are absolutely right that it might work. I just have one thing that I'm not capable of doing, but perhaps that is just me who needs to learn more of the more advanced features of MindManager.

Please find my screenshot below of a demo story map. It does what it needs to do until the step of spreading the stories over several "releases". In storymaps these are spread along horizontal swimlanes. So I added a swimlane for the so called "MVP release" and one for the "next release". The idea is now to drag some of the stories down to the right release and start scoping those releases. Problem is, I can't seem to drag those stories down as they keep together at the top. Is there a way to get around this?


Kind regards,



Hello Nico

You are right, you can't control the position of topics in trees to arrange them in bands. Their position and spacing is always automatically calculated relative to their parent. There are a few approaches here:

  1. Use floating topics instead of tree topics. You can then position the topics anywhere you like, but you lose the advantage of a hierarchical relationship and auto spacing as the diagram grows bigger. This might be appropriate for very small vision boards only as it will involve quite a lot of maintenance.
  2. Use tags or icons to mark up the sprint on each story. You can then filter the vision board so that you see only the next MVP or sprint, i. e. it hides things that are not filtered in. With filtering off, you can see everything in context.
  3. Use tags or icons as above, and view the vision board in the tag or icon column view. You can then see the stories organised by sprint or MVP and can easily drag them between sprints. This is probably the most powerful way to have both a complete structure of stories, while also focusing on a MVP to discuss and agree its scope. You lose sight of the hierarchical relationship with features in the column views, but can still access this with option 2 above.

In the screenshot below I did the following:

  • Created an icon to mark story topics specifically (the speech bubble icon).
  • Created a tag group for MVP sprints with tags for the next 3 sprints. It is not unusual in SCRUM to give MVPs names to help people recognise them and think about them as an integral design.
  • Filtered the map on the story icon so that it selects just the stories.
  • Viewed the MVP sprint tag group in Tag View using just the filtered story topics, so we don't see anything else from the map and can focus on a group of stories.

The stories can now be dragged and dropped between sprint columns. Stories in the "Uncategorised" column are not assigned to sprints.


The text description of this process probably sounds worse than doing it in practice.


One minor addition I would make to Nick's first option is to use either the Flowchart or Concept Map templates. These essentially use floating topics (with the disadvantages Nick describes) but they do add relationship lines automatically so you can simulate a hierarchical map.

The resulting maps are not as intuitive to set up as the "traditional" maps and topics don't automatically align, but they are compatible with swimlanes as shown in the very rough example below which is loosely based on Nick's map. I've added a couple of SmartRules to highlight which lane the story topics are in. It's still fair to say though that Nick's other suggestions are probably better options if you can live without the swimlane concept.



Good points Alex!