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7. Techniques

7.17 Storyboarding

Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide

Storyboarding is used to describe a task, scenario, or story in terms of how stakeholders interact with the solution.

Storyboarding (also known as dialogue map, dialogue hierarchy, customer journey, or navigation flow) is a technique for understanding how people will actually use the solution. Storyboarding is used in conjunction with other techniques such as use cases, user stories, and prototyping to detail visually and textually the sequence of activities summing up different user interactions with the solution.

Storyboarding is used when formal prototypes may be unnecessary or too expensive.

Storyboarding serves

  • to elicit, elaborate, organize, and validate the requirements,

  • to communicate to stakeholders what needs to be built,

  • to assist in user interface design,

  • to show different variations of the proposed solution,

  • to align stakeholders with the vision of the proposed solution, and

  • as an input to tests.

When used to describe the interaction with a software system, the storyboard shows how screens will look and how they will flow from one to another. When used to describe the business organization, the storyboard shows the interaction with a business process such as back office.

Storyboards can be developed as either physical or digital products and can be created in a workshop environment with relevant stakeholders.

Storyboards are common in many analysis and development approaches, and are a form of prototyping (see BABOK® Guide: 10.36 Prototyping). Storyboards present all the details in a visual flow. In contrast, story maps (see 7.20. Story Mapping) is an organization of user activities.

Figure 7.17.1: Storyboard



.1 Scenarios

When planning a solution, business analysis practitioners identify all the possible scenarios for which a customer will interact with the solution. They consider the nuance of each scenario, which steps the customer will take, and what is the desired outcome. The likelihood of the scenario occurring and the complexity involved in the scenario is also identified.

.2 Illustrations

Storyboards are visual illustrations of the solution and how the customer interacts with it. Typical storyboards involve a series of boxes or segments depicting each step in the scenario.

.3 Textual Explanation

To add context to the visual illustrations, textual explanations accompany each box or segment to explain the step as necessary.

.4 Create Storyboard

The steps to creating a storyboard include:

  1. Identifying the main scenarios within the scope of the initiative. This can be derived from use cases, user stories, in a customer visit, or an information gathering session with subject matter experts.

  2. Selecting the scenarios for the storyboard. Not all scenarios require a storyboard. The most common and most complex scenarios are storyboarded.

  3. Creating illustrations for the storyboards of the selected scenarios.

  4. Enhancing the storyboard illustrations with textual information such as optional interactions, unavailable interactions, further stakeholder requests not associated with the primary scenario, and general notes associated with a specific step. Each storyboard should stand on its own with required explanations.

  5. Validating the storyboard with stakeholders to ensure accuracy and alignment.

.1 Strengths

  • Can significantly reduce abstractness caused by other techniques such as use cases and user stories.

  • Can be produced quickly and at a very low cost compared to other techniques such as prototypes.

  • The intuitive nature of the storyboard encourages stakeholder participation.

.2 Limitations

  • Different look and feel than the final product.

  • Easy to get bogged down on how, rather than why.

  • Easy to miss some significant rules or constraints due to concentration on the visual flow.