Are your user stories effective? Whether you’ve been using user stories for years or you’re just diving in, it’s important to regularly reflect on the value user stories bring to your requirements and delivery process.
Take a look at the questions below. If you respond to all of these questions with a confident “YES!”, then your team is maximizing the benefit of their user stories. If one or more of your answers waffles between “I’m not sure.”, and “Definitely NOT!”, then you might be able to squeeze even more value from your user stories.
- Do your user stories evolve?
- Are your user stories seen as the start to a conversation?
- And, does the conversation continue? (The conversation should not end once documented or placed in a tool.)
- Do you wait to define details until the last responsible moment?
- Do your user stories roll up and connect to a bigger picture (story map, product map, product hierarchy)?
- Does every user story focus on end user value and the human aspects of the solution? (User stories should not deliver value to the system or the team. They should always be written in a way that describes value to the customer or end user.)
- Does every user story support the organization’s goals and strategies? And product vision?
- Do you prioritize user stories by business value and user value?
- Are your details captured using models and visuals to facilitate better dialog?
- Are your details captured using collaborative techniques that engage all stakeholders to participate in meaningful dialog?
Great user stories are just the tip of the iceberg. They should be identified collaboratively to give stakeholders a shared understanding of the end user and organizational needs.