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Build Experiences, Not Features: Webinar Recap

Written by 
Annelise Schoups
December 1, 2017


If you’ve ever been frustrated at the lack of tangible takeaways following a design workshop, you’re not alone. Many teams find that design thinking workshops don’t often lead to real product improvements. It looks a little like the game of telephone: the team leaves the workshop in agreement, but before they can get back to work, things quickly get distorted or disappear altogether. At MURAL, we refer to this as workshop amnesia.

The good news is there’s a solution. We recently welcomed John Murray, Design Team Lead & Advisory Front End Developer at IBM, and Eric Morrow, Design Facilitator at IBM and author of Lean Accelerator, to host a webinar and share how they get around the persistent gaps. Through trial and error, they’ve discovered that teams can bridge the space between design workshops ideas and the product development that follows.

They connect the two by using a method known as User Story Mapping. For more details, watch the full session or view the presentation.


How User Story Mapping Can Connect Design Thinking to Agile Development

Both Eric and John have found undeniable business value in User Story Mapping. In their experience, design thinking sprints lead to what’s known as Hills at IBM, or, more simply put, mission statements. After this, User Story Mapping provides next steps in the form of epics and user stories that convert directly into GitHub issues.


Beyond having tangible development tasks founded in design, the process promotes shared understanding among the team, a visual representation everything you’ve ideated and a clear path toward prioritization. But how can you ensure your design sessions lead to successful product iterations?

  • Do your research, and don’t rely on any personas that haven’t been validated
  • Implement a facilitator who can remain neutral and help focus the team
  • Don’t get stuck reaching for the finished product; let the process be iterative

Finally, always remember that “You are not your user.” So in order to best design and develop for them, focus on the ideas that provide the most value for the user and move forward on iterations that are both feasible and impactful.

Ready to get started? Kick off a User Story Mapping workshop in MURAL.

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About the author

About the authors

Annelise Schoups

Annelise is a writer and wanderer, passionate about storytelling and the spread of honest information.