Scrum artifacts: User Stories

Scrum: Artifacts: User Stories

User stories are part of an Agile approach that helps shift the focus from writing about requirements to talking about them. All agile user stories include a written sentence or two and, more importantly, a series of conversations about the desired functionality.

User stories are actually narrative texts that describe an interaction of the user and the system, focusing on the value a user gains from the system.  A true user story is a metaphor for the work being done.  It is not a highly documented requirement but rather a reminder to collaborate about the topic of the user story—in other words in agile development (good agile at least), the documentation is secondary to the collaboration.  User stories aren’t agile in and of themselves. Instead, their underlying agile values—collaboration and just-in-time definition—make user stories a good agile tool.  Formality is specifically removed from the mix and specification of the user story is pushed as late as possible.

More about User Stories

CCC (mnemonic)

  • Card: we need an item: digital or a card on a wall.
  • Conversation: the team needs to talk about the card
  • Confirmation: the team needs to confirm that we understand the item.

INVEST (mnemonic)

  • Independent: self-contained, no inherent dependency on another PBI
  • Negotiable: up until they are part of an iteration (sprint) they can always be changed and rewritten.
  • Valuable: a User Story must deliver value to the client / user / customer/stakeholder(s)
  • Estimable: Team must be able to estimate the size of a User Story
  • Small: small enough to plan / task / prioritize with a certain level of certainty; <50% of effort.
  • Testable: must provide necessary information to make test development possible.