Skip to main content

What's in a User Story?

Being Agile: my occasional ramblings on Agile development & Extreme Programming

I constantly run into people who claim to be Agile but don't understand XP (extreme programming). And a lot of people fail to grasp the essence of XP because they get stuck on an XP principle that they find threatening - 'pair programming' and 'test driven development' are the usual suspects.

I'll focus on Pair Programming and TDD another day. Today I want to discuss the most important and fundamental aspect of XP - User Stories.

User Stories are like better, state-of-the-art Use-Cases - simpler and lending themselves to be scheduled individually.

Think of a User Story as a fine-grained Use-Case, leading to better estimation of effort, tracking of progress, and higher quality of implementation (fewer bugs due to requirements that are fine-grained, thorough and less ambiguous).

A User Story looks just like a bug would in a bug tracking system:
  • a one-line title summarizing the requirement that the user story encapsulates
  • a detailed description consisting of a bulleted list of acceptance criteria
  • a schedulable unit of work whose progress can be tracked
It is the schedulable nature of a User Story that gives it a huge advantage over any other form of requirement gathering, including Use Cases.

Next Time: How to schedule User Stories

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Splitting User Stories vs. Rally's "split" feature (that has nothing to do with it!)

Agile tool Rally has a "split" feature it recommends to handle "unfinished work" in a Scrum Sprint:

Manage Unfinished Work - Split user stories (new link)

Below are my observations on the "Split" feature in Rally (followed by a few excellent articles on Splitting User Stories):
This "split" feature in Rally has numerous problems: 1. Nothing to do with Splitting User Stories It has nothing to do with "Splitting a User Story" which is an advanced but fairly well-understood field in Agile, and a tool for Product Managers to use in one of the two scenarios: The Product Manager does it before an Iteration commences (i.e. during backlog creation or release planning) to create User Stories by business value that are right-sized, i.e. they can be comfortably implemented inside an iteration; The Product Manager does it in Iteration Planning or in the middle of an Iteration to reduce scope by removing/simplifying acceptance criteria, in response to t…

Agile Entrepreneurs Manifesto

The Agile Manifesto defines the 4 core Values that define "Agile":  "Individuals and interactions", "Working software", "Customer collaboration", and "Responding to change" As I applied Agile requirements (user stories), engineering (XP), and process & project management (Scrum & Kanban) to my startups (RideStation, and Agile Entrepreneurs) starting from 2005 to now in 2018, I learned numerous lessons and shared them with my fellow entrepreneurs for the next dozen years.
These lessons I have incorporated by "extending" the Agile Manifesto with two additional values pertaining to Product (5th) and Startup/Business (6th) - that the services consultants who wrote it in 2001 probably didn't have to contend with as most (all?) of them were not founders of product startups: 
"User Validation, Customer Traction, and Business Milestones"
Agile Entrepreneurs Manifesto User & Customer ACTIVITIES over Product Feature…

Your Conscience is Your Compiler!

Your Conscience is Your Compiler! The following is the exact transcript of an IM chat about "Conscience" I had with a friend:

Friend: I follow my instincts.

Me: Animals follow instincts - humans follow their conscience. It's the only God I know. Your conscience always tells you what's right or wrong.

Friend: No murali, I disagree. How do you define what's right?

Me: Your conscience tells you- always. If you do something you believe is wrong, you'll feel guilty. If you don't believe it's wrong, you won't feel guilty

Friend: Yeah, but why do you do things?

Me: Because we are human.

Friend: No, it's because we want to survive.

Me: It takes a lot of character to always obey your conscience, a lot of strength.We survive either way. But if you and your conscience are on good terms, you have unshakeable self-belief.

Friend: Yeah

Me: And you'll care about little things like pride, self-respect, principles, character, reputation...because they are…