My Sweet 16 Birthday Party

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This workshop is loosely based upon the MTV series "My Super Sweet 16" from 2005-8 and is intended to provide the attendees with some hands on user story creation, categorisation, estimation and release planning experience with the use of a simple scenario around planning a large 16th birthday party.

This exercise provides some experience in creating a Product Backlog in the form of a Story Map, estimating Product Backlog Items, attributing business value to items, and crafting a release plan for 5 Sprints.

Learning Objectives

  • To be able to create new Product Backlog Items and form a meaningful Product Backlog in the form of a story map
  • To order the items in a meaningful way
  • To be able to estimate items
  • To form a basic release plan


Allow for 90 minutes for table groups to successfully complete their tasks


Workshop Flow


The scenario is that your team is working for a high-end party planning company, and one of our most prestigious customers wants to provide a 16th Birthday Party for his daughter, Kelly. The budget for this party is in excess of $300,000 and in addition there will be a car for the birthday girl presented by the parents. Kelly has provided a poster of the things that she likes and describes her expectations for the party.


  1. As a team review Kelly’s poster of her interpretation of the birthday party
  2. Perform a 2 minute brainstorm on post-it notes to derive some high level ideas about the party
  3. Review the “Story Mapping” poster and draw a story board of the user experience from the guests’ and Kelly’s perspective
  4. On two sheets of flip chart paper arrange the story board diagrams across the top to form the user journey and the expected outcome of the party
  5. Decompose the user journey into epics to form the categories of things needed to be done to achieve the user experience
  6. Break down the epics into Product Backlog Items with some information from the “Anatomy of a User Story” poster. The Product Backlog Items will form your to do list of the work to be done to achieve the user experience
  7. Estimate the Product Backlog Items using one of the following techniques, (the facilitator has the equipment needed):
    1. Planning Poker
    2. Affinity Estimation
    3. Ouija Board Estimation
  8. Attribute business value to the Product Backlog Items using one of the following techniques, (the facilitator has the equipment needed):
    1. MVP
    2. Kano Analysis
    3. Buy a Feature
  9. Add post it notes down one side of the Story Map indicating Sprints 1-5 to form swim lanes for each of the Sprints
  10. Adjust the Product Backlog Items between the Sprint swim lanes to form a release plan over the 5 Sprints
  11. Call over the facilitator to review and discuss

See Also


  1., accessed 2014
  2., accessed 2014
  3. User Story Mapping Quick Reference Guide, 2014