Improving User Stories


I recently picked up “Fifty Quick Ideas to Improve your User Stories”.  Before I provide some thoughts on the book, its worth stating the obvious: a large number of organisation have their own variant of agile.  These variants of agile can be many degrees away from the original intent of agile.  Its therefore not surprising that, when reading “Fifty Quick Ideas to Improve your User Stories”, you may find some of the ideas unworkable within your project area.

  • Page 10, “If a team passively receives documents in a hand-over…that’s not really working with user stories”.   Telling stories is the correct agile approach.  Unfortunately, this is often countered when there is a void between the Product Owner and the team.  Tension between both parties and ever changing stories can lead to issues, which team then begin to go down the road of lightweight requirements.
  • Page 12, The Story card is a token for a conversation.
  • Page 14, Change in behaviour is key to aiding the conversation. BDD!
  • Page 16, story ambiguity WILL lead to issues :)  Consider adding clauses to the story template to aid e.g. “Where as currently…” or “Instead of..”  See bottom right hand column for trading story example

Why and What in a story – behaviour and system change

  • Page 24, Ensure the story communicates the time constraints of a story
  • Page 40, Get global concerns on the table at the start of a milestone.
  • Page 48.  Names project context, ensure milestones are named appropriately.
  • Page 56, consider how to demo a story when you start discussing the demo – end of iteration Show and Tell planning before the work starts
  • Page 100, “Detailed estimates work again the whole idea of flexible scope’.  “Long-term estimates give the wrong impression of precision.”

Definitely worth he read.  I only hope more people read this book, and the education of user story writing continues within organisations.

~ by mdavey on May 11, 2015.

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