There are several benefits of using story trees, and they’re primarily in two areas –
Backlog (or Master Story List) creation:
– Mind maps, which can be used to create the story trees in the first place, make for an excellent tool for facilitating brainstorming sessions within the team
– They’re also a fundamentally intuitive tool for thinking about things, and this in itself make things very easy
– It is easy for a developer to look at a story title in the context of its tree and understand the workflow it belongs too, and the business context in which it was created
– It is an easy, visual way to see what stories are connected to what other ones, and how the dependencies might turn out. It also helps in managing those dependencies across those stories, because of its visual nature.
– Speaking of how things are related, it is also easy to see areas or pieces of functionality that are impacted by change in a particular area. Not always, but this is useful many times.
– By color coding the nodes and leaves of the tree, say based on status, priority, size (t-shirt sizes or story points) or whatever else makes sense, one can render different view of the story tree, which can communicate different things in a very easy to understand manner
– It is a very useful tool with which to have meaningful conversations with the customers. When asked things like where scope-growth was occurring, or where they might look to trim scope, the tree becomes a useful talking aid. It can be color-coded to show times ranges when certain stories were added, etc.
– Finally, story trees are useful because they always pitch the topic of conversation (say about a set of stories) in the context of the entire graph of requirements and business work-flows. This perspective is often lost, and is extremely useful when having certain kinds of conversations (the important ones).