Getting to know each other using User Story Mapping

By | June 21, 2018

I recently have been a lot into User Story Mapping, actually, if you haven’t read the book I highly recommend you to read it.

I really like the technique, and I really like to do lots of visual stuff, that is why I was thinking about how to use User Story Mapping to let people know each other better.

Why it’s imporant to know each other?

I think it’s imporant in order to build trust, stop for a second an think about all the times you started to work in a new company, that feeling of not knowing anything about anyone, and also your new team-mates not knowing anything about you, and when I say not knowing about you is not just about job topics related, yes it’s cool to know which technologies you like most, but I’m also interested in knowing how has been your life journey, how you ended up here, what you like, what you don’t like, what you have experienced, which interesting people you have met in your life and many other intesresting things we all have experienced.


Using User Story Mapping to get to know each other better.

Let me show you an example I made, the example shows three different persons running the workshop.

Before you start… make sure you set properly the expectations, we are gonna share some personal things here, there is nothing wrong if you don’t want to share certain topics, but advise that we are running this workshop with the goal of knowing each other better, maybe you could talk to the participants before running the workshop in order to know if it’s ok for them to do such an activity, maybe not everyone is willing to share their life journey, and this is totally fine! at some point they will feel safe enough to do that, I’m sure.

In this example we see three different persons running the workshop, let me explain a bit so you can understand what are you seeing.

Personas, left side.

Here we have each person participating in the workshop, in this case, Mary, John and Mike, they are new team-mates from a recently brand new team which means that they don’t know each other too much yet.


If you are familiar with User Story Mapping you probably know what is the backbone, in case you don’t know, here you have the official PDF with all the information about USM, but basically is the sequence of activities. In this case we can see our sequence of life.

  • Kindergarten
  • School
  • High School
  • Professional Studies
  • 1st Job
  • 2nd Job

You will have to agree with the participants about something… I’m pretty sure we could have a different backbone for each of them, but in this case we are trying to create a backbone that all participants have in common, it’s fine if not all of them have been through the same journey, I mean, in this example we could have people that doesn’t have 2nd job because where they are currently working is their first job.

Clustering the backbone

In this case, you see that given the backbone we can identify three life phases

  • Childhood
  • Adolescence
  • Adult age

Yellow Sticky Notes

On these cards we will write more generic topics, not really something descriptive, we could write things like:

  • Where was located or the name your Kindergarten
  • Favorite teacher
  • Favorite University subject
  • Etc

We don’t want to get into too many details here, we just want to highlight important things that happened to that particular stage of your life.

Brown Sticky Notes

We will use these cards to add more detailed information, for example:

  • The names of your group of friends
  • Favorite sport at the moment
  • Why you did like so much that university topic?
  • Favorite singer during University time
  • What was the stuff you liked most in your first job?

We will use those cards to elaborate a bit more about each topic.


Running this kind of workshops is always fun, and you could have this visible in your area(make sure everyone feels good about that) and you could be adding every team member to it, I’m just thinking now that this could have lots of potential in terms of knowing more about our colleagues, their interests and passions!

I really think that if we want to build trust among team members they need to know each other better, and not only professionally, also at personal level!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.