Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Perfect User Story

When our company decided to implement Scrum, I suggested to our Product Owner that we express our customer requirement as User Stories.

I assume most of you know what a User Story is, but for those few that don't - a User Story is a sentence specifying a user's need. The typical format is: "As a <user type> I want to <do something>, so that I can <reason>".

Our Product Owner was new to Scrum and hadn't used User Stories before. We had a discussion about the pros and cons of User Stories. One particular discussion was about the following User Story: "As a website visitor I want to view advertisements, so that I can go to external content I am interested in".

However, we argued, a website visitor typically isn't interested in viewing advertisements, she prefers the website without them. We rewrote the User Story: "As the website owner I want to show advertisements on my website, so that I can make money". That sounded more honest, as it's the owner of the website that wants something. It still felt a little weak, though, because the website owner isn't the primary actor here. The website owner doesn't actually DO anything in this scenario.

According to you, what is the best User Story?

I'm giving you some space to think about that before I give the answer.


The answer is: it doesn't matter!

The goal of a User Story is to start a conversation between the Product Owner and the team. It's the shared understanding that follows from the conversation that matters, not the actual wording of the User Story.

This doesn't mean that poorly written User Stories are fine. A well written User Story helps toward gaining a shared understanding. But they aren't the goal. The goal is creating a beautiful product and delighting the customer. So keep that in mind next time you have a discussion about the "perfect" User Story.

No comments:

Post a Comment