Example Mapping: A Guide for Effective User Stories

Combining Example Mapping with the JTBD framework provides a structured yet flexible approach to writing user stories.


Enhanced Guide to Example Mapping: Optimizing User Stories with JTBD Framework

Example Mapping is a dynamic technique widely adopted in Agile software development for deconstructing user stories into manageable, understandable components. This method ensures a deeper comprehension of required functionalities and highlights potential gaps in user stories before development commences. When synergized with the "Jobs to Be Done" (JTBD) framework, the effectiveness of user stories is significantly enhanced, ensuring that the final products resonate deeply with user needs. This guide delves into using Example Mapping effectively to craft compelling JTBD-enhanced user stories.

What is Example Mapping?
Example Mapping is a collaborative session where team members use colored cards to visually break down the structure of a user story. Each color represents a different aspect of the story:

  • User Story Card (Yellow): Outlines what is being developed and why, stating the user story.

  • Rule Cards (Blue): Specify the acceptance criteria or rules the story must satisfy.

  • Example Cards (Green): Provide concrete examples or scenarios that demonstrate the rules.

  • Question Cards (Red): Identify uncertainties or questions that need resolution before or during development.

Integrating JTBD with Example Mapping

Preparation for the Session
Before initiating the Example Mapping session, gather detailed insights about the user jobs from JTBD interviews and research. Understand the user’s context, motivations, and desired outcomes, which will inform the user stories.

Mapping the User Story
Begin with a User Story Card (Yellow) that integrates JTBD insights, focusing on the user's job rather than just the functional requirements:

  • Traditional User Story: "As a user, I want a feature, so that I can achieve an outcome."

  • JTBD-Enhanced User Story: "When [situation/context], I want to [job/motivation], so I can [desired outcome]."

Defining Rules with Acceptance Criteria
Utilize Blue Cards to define each rule that outlines how the user’s job will be successfully completed. These should capture the essence of the JTBD, ensuring comprehensive coverage of the user's needs.

Creating Examples for Each Rule
Attach Green Cards to each Rule Card, illustrating how the rules apply in specific, real-world scenarios pertinent to the user’s job. This visualization is crucial for understanding the practical application of the user story.

Addressing Open Questions
Use Red Cards throughout the session to document any arising questions or uncertainties, particularly those related to the job's context, user motivations, or outcomes. Addressing these questions may necessitate additional user research or consultations with stakeholders.

Refinement and Prioritization
After completing the map, review all components to ensure the user story is fully developed and nuanced. Prioritize the implementation phases based on the JTBD’s importance and complexity, as highlighted through the mapping process.

More info about Example Mapping and how it works : https://cucumber.io/blog/bdd/example-mapping-introduction/

Benefits of Using Example Mapping with JTBD
  • Clarity and Focus: Directs team efforts towards the user’s genuine needs and the tasks they aim to accomplish, minimizing irrelevant feature development.

  • Enhanced Collaboration: Promotes team engagement and shared understanding through a visual and interactive approach.

  • Efficient Prioritization: Facilitates prioritization of development tasks based on well-defined user jobs and scenarios.

  • Reduced Misunderstandings: Clarifies development requirements with tangible examples and addresses questions early, preventing potential issues.


Integrating Example Mapping with the JTBD framework offers a structured yet adaptable approach for crafting user stories. This combination not only ensures that product features align with actual user needs but also fosters improved team collaboration and understanding throughout the development process. By visualizing user stories and breaking them down into specific examples and rules, teams can guarantee that every developed feature is necessary, functional, and highly valued by users, maximizing the impact and success of the final product.