User Story

Are you using Agile for a while and still struggling to write a good user story? This "Rule of Thumb" can help you quickly revisit fundamental gaps you may have in your understanding. Also, don't forget to check more Agile Helpline Rules of Thumb here.

RULE OF THUMB: User story consist of following 3 parts:
  • Need: “As a <type of user>, I want <some goal> so that <some reason>” (~10 words)
  • Conversation: Details are captured as a narrative texts that describe an interaction of the user and the system, focusing on the value a user gains from the system.  This results in conversation with the product owner. A true user story is a metaphor for the work being done.
  • Confirmation: User criteria written in the form of acceptance criteria, which can be used to determine when a story is complete. These acceptance criteria become a fundamental building block for Test Driven Development (TDD.)

 An Example
  • Need: As a ScrumMaster, I want to order a book from amazon so that I can learn advanced Agile concepts
  • Conversation: I should be able to search book by title or author name and purchase it using my Visa card.
  • Confirmations:Verify that confirmation email is sent and book is shipped within 24 hours.

INVEST in User Stories (reference Mike Cohn's presentation)

  • Dependencies lead to problems estimating and prioritizing
  • Can ideally select a story to work on without pulling in 18 other stories
  • Stories are not contracts
  • Leave or imply some flexibility
  • To users or customers, not developers
  • Rewrite (most) developer stories to reflect value to users or customers
  • Because plans are based on user stories, we need to be able to estimate them
  • Sized Appropriately
  • Complex stories are intrinsically large
  • Compound stories are multiple stories in one
  • Stories need to be testable


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