There are two challenges with story maps that we seem to continually face:
1. Physicality: Story maps work best when you have a lot of physical space to lay them out. E.g. on a big wall, or a large floor. The challenge is that for a project of any reasonable size there is no good tool available to digitally represent Story Maps. The project manager’s ‘Swiss Army knife’ of the spreadsheet is always available, but a tool tailored to the purpose of producing Story Maps would be a great asset. There is also Prezi (http://prezi.com/), which allows massive presentations to be viewed and navigated.
2. Beyond the Inception phase: In a sense this is allied to the first challenge, that while producing a plan of iterations and releases at the Inception stage is a great utility to have at our disposal the ongoing story backlog then needs to be managed.
Jira and Greenhopper (http://www.atlassian.com/software/greenhopper/overview) are great tools to manage Sprints in an Agile way, but if there were a tool that could directly use the initial Story Maps, or manage a Story Map as a backlog then that would be even better, and more efficient. There is the possibility that SpecLog (http://www.speclog.net/) may be able to fill this niche, or do you know of some other tool that could be used?
In part 3 we revisit stories and story maps, and report back on a new tool we saw at a conference and compare it against our spreadsheet for managing the story backlog.