How to write an effective user stories “AGILE” “SCRUM”?

What is User Story?

A user story is an informal and natural language description of features of a software system. Generally user stories are written from the perspective of an end-user or a user of a system. Depending on the project, user stories are written by various stakeholders including clients, users, managers or development team members.

Story shows the complexity of the problem. It reflects the confidence of accurate estimate of a project. A story with a high story point tells you that there are many points with user stories that are not concrete. If you shown an iteration plan with stories having high story point, it gives you little confidence that iteration is executed as expected and that you need to look at other stories for the iteration.   

When communicating with a product owner, high story point indicates that it will be complicated when they will get a product.

Let us see how to write an effective user stories “AGILE” “SCRUM”?

Considerations for writing user stories-

  1. Stakeholders should write user stories- It is necessary that stakeholders of your project should write user stories instead of developers. Stories should be simple so that people can learn to write them in minimum time. So it makes sense that domain experts write them.
  2. Remember non-functional requirements- Stories can be used to mention various requirements types.
  3. Indicate the evaluated size- One approach to estimate is to assign user stories to each card and relative indication to what extent it will take developers to implement a story. From this, the team will know that if it currently takes them on average 2x hours per point. Hence the user story will take near about 10x hours to implement. 
  4. Mention the priority- Requirements, having defects are identified as part of independent parallel testing activities or by operations and supports efforts are prioritized by stakeholders and added to the stack at appropriate place. This approach is possible to assign priorities of High/Medium/Low. These are mostly used instead of numbers and some people will assign each card it’s own unique priority order number. You need to mark the priority in case you drop the deck of cards, or if you are using electronic tooling. Consider a strategy that works good for your team. You can analyze that priority changed at some instant in the past, this is a normal thing, motivating the team to forward the card to another point in the task. The suggestion is that your strategy of prioritization needs to support this activity. But keep it simple.  
  5. Optionally include a unique identifier- The main reason to include this is if you need to maintain some sort of traceability among user stories and other artifacts in a particular test.

Effective Ways to write user stories-

1. Begin with initial user stories-

User stories are short and having high level requirements. It also describes the way of how user employs the product. Therefore, stories should be told by the user’s perspective. Another is, user stories are  helpful to capture a particular functionality.

2. Discover the right stories-

A right way to mark your insights about the users and customers is to use character. There is another also, the persona goals help you to discover your stories. Understand your users and customers. All user stories want to tell a story about users using the product. If you are aware of who is the user and which problems we have to solve, then it is difficult to write a right stories and you will end up with a long wish list instead of a description of the necessary product functionality. This gives a better way to capture the users and customers with their needs. These characters have a name and picture, characteristics for eg., role, activities, behaviors, attitudes and a goal. This is a problem that has to be addressed or the benefit that should be provided.

3. Write collaborative stories-

A user story is a communication and collaboration tool. It is not a specification. Stories should not handover to the development team. They should be the part of the conversation: Product owner and team should discuss the stories in a better way and also write them together. This uses the creativity and knowledge of the team which results in better user stories.

4. Stories should be simple and point targeted-

You should write stories so that they are easy to understand. Just keep the stories short and simple for easy understanding. Avoiding confusing, unclear and ambiguous term and use active voice will be the best practice for story writing. You should focus on the important things and ignore the unnecessary information. You can also use template when it is necessary and helpful. But don’t be forced to apply it. Test it with different ways to write stories to understand what works best for you and also team.

5. Start with epics-

Epics are narrative, big, coarse-grained user stories. Starting with epics allows you to rough identification of the product functionality without committing the details. This is more helpful for new products and also to the new features. This permits you to get a  rough scope and it gets you the opportunity to get familiar with users and how to best address their issues. It also minimizes the time and effort required to integrate new insights. If you have more detailed stories, then it is sometimes challenging and time-consuming to relate any feedback to the right stories. Generally user stories that are big to implement in a single iteration and hence they need to be separate in smaller user stories at some instant.

Generally, epics are the lower priority user stories because once the epic works its way towards the top of the work item stack, once you have created your personas, use their goals personas to identify the product functionality. Epics are better to pictorise the functionality of product. You should also get the user interaction and sequences in which the epics are used, the visual design of your product, and the important nonfunctional qualities such as interoperability and performance.

6. Include Acceptance criteria-

As you separate epics into smaller stories, remember to add acceptance criteria. Acceptance criteria complement the story’s narrative. It permits you to describe the conditions that should be fulfilled to complete the story.  The criteria enhance the story and make it increasingly exact and testable, and they guarantee that the story can be released to the users and other stakeholders.

7. Don’t be dependent on the User Stories-

Creating a great user experience requires more than writing user stories. You should also consider the user journeys and interactions, visual design and non-functional properties of your product. This will result in a holistic description that makes it easy to analyze the risks and assumptions. It increases the possibility of creating a product with  the right user experience.

Develop your software product with Solace. We know the benefits and effectiveness of using user stories to the development. Our expert’s team will help you for your business growth by using effective user stories. Kindly contact us for any software development with user stories.

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