O'Reilly logo
live online training icon Live Online training

60 minutes to Better User Stories and Backlog Management

5 steps for team success through the creation of a clear story board

Topic: Management/Business
Kylie Castellaw
Maryam Aidini

Software delivery typically starts with user stories and each project starts with a backlog — a list of tasks and user stories that needs to be delivered for the project. But how do you turn a product idea into epics and stories in the first place? In this course, we introduce 5 steps to creating an actionable storyboard for a team. Explaining how user journey mapping, sketching, and prototyping evolve into actual epics and stories, this course will demystify the process of setting you and/or your team up for success through clear stories.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live, hands-on, online course, you’ll understand:

  • The 5 key steps to defining a backlog (a list of the tasks you need to accomplish for your project) and how to apply these 5 steps to your own project
  • What makes good user stories
  • Why understanding the customer journey is a critical step of project planning
  • The impact of clear stories in the success of a product team

And you’ll be able to:

  • Turn a product idea into epics and stories yourself
  • Set a team up for success before starting to build a product
  • Identify the potential risks and assumptions for your project
  • Avoid project blockers by having clear user stories

This training course is for you because...

  • You’re on a software team that has had trouble with clear stories in the past
  • You’ve been tasked with defining a backlog and want to make sure it’s as effective as possible
  • You’re a product manager or business analyst (or would like to become one) that wants to build a successful product
  • You are part of a collaborative cross functional team who wants to learn about turning ideas to stories


  • Basics of Agile software delivery

Recommended preparation:

Recommended follow-up:

About your instructor

  • Kylie Castellaw is a lead product manager and design researcher at ThoughtWorks, where she coaches Fortune 500 and nonprofit teams to work leanly in portfolio planning, product development, concept ideation, and experience design. She’s always loved science and art and came to the Lean practice as a UX designer/researcher and cognitive psychologist.

  • Maryam Aidini is a lead product manager at ThoughtWorks, where she spends her time coaching enterprise clients in the portfolio management, product definition, and the software delivery phases of their product lifecycles. She started her career as a software engineer and has worked with many teams over the years to deliver software products using Lean and Agile practices.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

  • Introduction (5 min)
  • Step 1: Product goals and vision (5 min)
  • Step 2: Journey mapping (10 min)
  • Step 3: Sketching (5 min)
  • Step 4: Prototyping (5 min)
  • Step 5: Storyboarding (15 min)
  • Helpful tips for a better backlog (5 min)
  • Q&A (10 min)