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Show HN: Featmap – a user story mapping tool built with Go, React and TypeScript (github.com)
90 points by trastentrasten 54 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments

Awesome - it happened I was exactly thinking about a tool like this when on a long meeting call today.

I have clients that refuse to use another tool, refuse another sign up in their email account . In the same time those clients are mostly chaotic to unorganized and we tend to repeat the same points over and over again in the course of a year until all points are fulfilled (web platform dev work).

This tool seems like the just Trello enough for ONE single view - no explanation to give - will try this from next week's meeting call on

Cool, let me know how it went with the client!

yikes, sounds like a high maintenence client. I hope you're charging appropriately!!

So... the reason why Pivotal Tracker is still my favorite tool is because most PM's want to know when a feature is going to be done. With PT, developers assign points to stories and the 3 week average (customizable) is what makes a velocity.

If velocity is 20, then 20 points worth of stories fit into an iteration (week). Points include testing, so that isn't cut out, like with sprints. As a PM, I can get developers to point stories out for a few weeks worth of iterations. If I need to move stories around, I can do that easily and I can see how moving things around affects 'when it will be available'.

If I was going to use another tool, I'd want PT's 'velocity' as a base feature for sure.

"If velocity is 20, then 20 points worth of stories fit into an iteration" -> When was software engineering so regimented, predictable and precise. This sort of mentality treats engineers as robotic and is a cancer in the industry currently.

Actually, no. It is far less robotic in practice and works quite well because once the schedule is better known and controlled, developers can go home on time every day. The whole crunch mode thing is effectively eliminated.

Pivots get into work at the same time, work together all day and then get to leave at the exact sane normal 8 hour work day. Every single day. Sounds like a great job to me.

If a team is great at pointing, and the lead/PM is good at scoping then I tend to agree with this.

I've seen 1 team good enough at pointing to do 2 week Sprints, call their velocity, and generally nail it.

It was a small federal team on a mature (7 year old) coldfusion application with a backlog that mainly involved minor features and bug fixes, where the app had a narrow clear scope.

The startups I've been involved in are too chaotic. When you have a team lead or project manager who never met a feature request they could say "no" or "that's not urgent" too, the problem is even worse. Also when your domain or features are generally not well defined "let's bolt a full CRM onto this now"

Among the chaos, I still go home on time every day.

The team doesn't have to be great at pointing. That is the whole point of this model. A small story is 1 point for the story and 1 point for testing. Medium is 2 points for coding and 1-3 for testing. Anything else should probably be cut up into smaller stories. The idea is to have more stories... this way the work can be divided up more easily and smaller units of work are easier and more fun to accomplish.

I do agree that the PM has to be excellent at writing stories and the team has to be good at pushing back on the PM to say that a story is too big and to break it up appropriately into smaller stories.

Two week sprints are awful. Nobody should ever be in that. The problem is that the team works for 2 weeks and then after those two weeks, everyone stands up and shows what they did. If you don't hit the mark, then it is another two weeks. Now a single feature can be held up for 4+ weeks! Or even worse, you cut out things like testing to make the 2 week sprint.

The pivotal model of making smaller features and factoring in testing into the pointing ensures that nobody is working alone for 2 weeks without any oversight.

20 'points' (whatever they are) last week has zero bearing on what will be accomplished this week, or next or in 6 months time. Vanity metrics. Your silently forcing them to be a feature factory and act in a consistent robotic fashion no matter what the problem at hand is. I bet your tech debt velocity is increasing weekly.

This is why velocity is a 3 week average of points and can be overridden in the tool to show people who are out on vacation/sick. The tool dynamically updates to show what stories make it into an iteration as well.

The whole idea is not to force people into a box. It is to just give PM's a way to plan the future. Obviously, things can change so it isn't some forceful thing at all.

Don't knock it until you've tried it. I had an opinion like you and then I went and worked in this system and it totally changed my mind.

I tend to agree. I have found the number of stories to have som utility as a metric, though.

It’s ok as long as the date isn’t taken too seriously. Or seriously at all. If you need a deadline then probably best to stop doing scrum/CD for that feature, dust off your Gaant chart software and get planning.

I don't think tools like this are meant to replace Pivotal (or Jira, or whatever you use for tracking Sprint stories/tickets).

Roadmapping (or in this case, user story mapping) is usually done independently from Sprint planning as a way to develop and share the product roadmap so that your team can prioritize Jira/Pivotal tickets or whatever your team uses for tracking Sprint tasks.

Yes, Pivotal model (disclosure, I worked at Pivotal/CloudFoundry for a bit) just uses sticky notes and they do this in an 'inception'.


Sticky notes are something more dynamic and hand writing things out makes you think more about things than just filling out boxes on a screen. It also allow you to iterate quickly and just toss the ideas you don't like into a corner.

Those stickies turn into 8 point (or unpointed) stories, put into Tracker, which then get broken down into smaller stories which can be discussed (iteration planning meetings) tasked out and worked on.

So yea... I guess if someone made me use a tool like this over simple sticky notes, I'd probably be really frustrated at the end of the day.

I'm curious, is there a featmap for featmap? :)

The most requsted feature is integration with GitHub. What do you think it is missing?

Oh, I don't think anything is missing. Just seems like the perfect case of a product/tool you would be able to "dogfood".

Good work!

Looks very nice. I would use Trello for this normally as it does the job good enough. This seems like a more specific service. I am curious how many ppl will choose this instead and for what reasons.

Trello is often good enough. With Featmap, I wanted to create the user story mapping tool that is juuust perfect for my use cases. Hopefully, other people will also find it useful!

Just a thought: I tried using the demo on mobile and it was easy to accidentally reorder/reorganize tasks.

Perhaps place an undo button nearby or somehow decrease touch sensitivity without removing functionality?

To be honest, I haven't paid much attention to mobile - mostly because I am nearly always on a desktop. Obviously a large screen is better when you are making changes to a big story map, but I get your point. Thanks for the detailed feedback, it really means a lot to me.

What's the license on the code?

Thanks! Seems very useful and clean enough to inform stake holders and the entire team.

My idea is that the tool can be used to quickly communicate product vision and current progress to the team or external stake holders. I can also imagine teams using it as their primary tracking tool, if the company is small enough. If you end up using it, please let me know how I can improve it and how you are using it.

I think Featmap is good and I think if you want to work on some ideas that have the potential to become startups I have some ideas in mind. Do you want hear them?

Can't wait to try this! I used miro.com in the past but it has a paywall. Congrats on the launch.

Thanks! I know that Featmap is not unique in the space, there are a lot of similar products. What I was missing was a free and open sourced tool with just the right feature set. After a couple of months of ambivalence, I decided to scratch my own itch. Would love to get your feedback once you've tried it.

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