Story maps and product roadmaps are common tools used by Agile teams; however, these are often confused as the same thing. Online literature incorrectly calls a product roadmap a story map and describes story mapping as product road mapping creation. When considering the story map vs product roadmap conundrum, knowing the difference will help you build a better product backlog.
What is a Story Map?
A story map tells the story of the product from the customer’s viewpoint. It helps you think through the problem as the customer. It is often a linear view of the customer’s path.
A story map helps identify priorities. Using the above example, we look at the stories to determine our minimal viable product. We identifying the stories which complete a users’ experience with the most basic features to prioritize across sprints and/or releases.
What is a Product Roadmap?
A product roadmap identifies the path your product will follow to achieve the vision. It identifies features to be realized at specific releases. The product owner uses this to work closely with stakeholders. If a new feature is identified, the product owner can compare to the current releases to determine where it goes on the backlog.
For the conference organizer, we can group the stories into releases with themes once we’ve identified the priority level on the story map. For example, the first release will focus on collecting names, choosing a payment option, and reading the summary of sessions. The second release can focus on getting more details at registration and displaying the number of attendees total and by area.