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10 Tips for Creating Great User Stories

10 practical tips to help you creating great user stories

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10 Tips for Creating Great User Stories

  1. 1. © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd 10 Tips for Creating Great User Stories Roman Pichler @romanpichler
  2. 2. © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd About Roman • Product management consultant, teacher, and author – 15 years experience in teaching and coaching product managers and helping companies establish an effective product management function – Specialised in agile and in lean practices • Business owner and product manager – I try to walk my own talk Product Strategy and Product Roadmap Practices for the Digital Age STRATEGIZE ROMAN PICHLER My books
  3. 3. What is a user story?
  4. 4. Here is My Take © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd A user story describes how a person interacts with the product and uses some product functionality. • Communicates the who, what, why. • Replaces traditional requirements.
  5. 5. Tip #1
  6. 6. © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd Users Come First Product User Story User or Customer • Who are the users? • What do they want from the product?
  7. 7. Users Come First • Always write a user story from the user’s perspective. – Who are the users? – What do the users want from the product? • If you don’t know who the users are and why they would want to use the product, then do not write any stories. – Carry out the necessary research work before you create any user stories. Otherwise your stories will be based on beliefs and ideas rather than data and empirical evidence. © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd
  8. 8. Tip #2
  9. 9. Use Personas to Discover the Right Stories © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd GoalPicture & Name Details What does the persona look like? What is the character's name? What are the persona’s relevant characteristics and behaviors? For instance, demographics, psychographics and behavioral attributes. Why would the persona want to use or buy the product? What benefit does the persona want to gain, or which problem does the persona want to solve?
  10. 10. Tip #3
  11. 11. © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd Create Stories Collaboratively Product Owner Development Team ScrumMaster/Coach Facilitates
  12. 12. © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd Create Stories Collaboratively • A user story is not a specification, but an communication and collaboration tool. Never hand off a story to a development team but embed it in a conversation. • You can take this approach further and write stories collaboratively. This leverages the creativity and the knowledge of the team and results in better user stories. • If you can’t involve the development team in the user story work, then you use another, more formal technique, such as, use cases.
  13. 13. Tip #4
  14. 14. © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd Make Your Stories Simple and Concise • Capture your stories so that they are easy to understand. – Focus on what’s important, and leave out the rest. – Avoid confusing terms and use active voice. • The following template is a good starting point: • If you use personas, then put them in your stories.
  15. 15. Tip #5
  16. 16. © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd Start with Epics • An epic is a big, sketchy, coarse-grained story, like a headline and placeholder for more detailed stories. • Starting with epics allows you to sketch the product functionality without committing to the details. • It also reduces the time and effort required to integrate new insights and evolve your stories based on user feedback.
  17. 17. Tip #6
  18. 18. © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd Refine the Stories and Get them Ready Epic User Story Big, coarse- grained, sketchy Ready: • Shared understanding • Feasible • Testable User Feedback, New Insights
  19. 19. © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd Refine the Stories to Get them Ready • Break your epics into smaller, detailed stories using the insights gained from exposing product increments to the users. • All dev team members should have a shared understanding of the story’s meaning. • The story should not too big and comfortably fit into a sprint. • You can determine if the story is done.
  20. 20. Tip #7
  21. 21. © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd Add Acceptance Criteria • Acceptance criteria complement the narrative: They allow you to describe the conditions that must be fulfilled so that the story is done. • The criteria enrich the story, they make it testable, and they ensures that the story can be demoed or released to the users and other stakeholders. • As a rule of thumb, I like to use three to five acceptance criteria for each detailed story.
  22. 22. Tip #8
  23. 23. © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd Use Paper Cards • Even if your stories are stored electronically, it is worthwhile to use paper cards when you write new stories. • Paper cards are cheap and easy to use. • They facilitate collaboration: Every one can take a card and jot down an idea. • Cards can be easily grouped on the table or wall to check for consistency and completeness and to visualise dependencies.
  24. 24. Tip #9
  25. 25. © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd Visualise Your Stories • Make your stories visible and put them up on the wall. • This fosters collaboration and creates transparency. • What’s more, it makes it obvious when you add too many stories too quickly, as you will start running out of wall space.
  26. 26. © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd Roman’s Product Canvas The users and the customers with their needs captures as personas. The big picture with the desired user experience (UX): the user journeys, the product functionality, the visual design, and the nonfunctional properties. Epics, scenarios, storyboards, story maps, workflows, design sketches, mock-ups, and constraint stories are helpful techniques to capture the big picture. The goal of the next sprint with detailed user stories.
  27. 27. Tip #10
  28. 28. © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd Don't Write User Stories If You • Describe complex user interactions and the visual design. Employ other techniques instead, such as, story maps, storyboards, sketches, and mockups. • Spec an architectural element like a component or service. Instead, use a modeling language like UML. • Quickly validate an idea with a throwaway prototype or mockup. Writing stories may not be necessary at all in this case.
  29. 29. The End.
  30. 30. © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd You can find more information at: Thank You! © 2016 Pichler Consulting Ltd I look forward to your questions: @romanpichler