Writing Effective User Stories

Take the full version of the self-paced eCourse “Writing Effective User Stories” at http://businessanalysisexperts.com/product/video-course-writing-user-stories/.

Also available in Paperback or Kindle format at http://www.amazon.com/Rules-Writing-Effective-User-Stories-ebook/dp/B00E8IRUDK/

User Stories are a great method for expressing stakeholder requirements, whether your projects follow an Agile, Iterative, or a Waterfall methodology. This book presents two common User Story structures to help you ensure that your User Stories have all the required components and that they express the true business need as succinctly as possible. It offers 5 simple rules to ensure that your User Stories are the best that they can be. That, in turn, will reduce the amount of time needed in User Story elaboration and discussion with the development team.

After reading this book you will be able to:

• Translate business needs into well-structured User Stories
• Write User Stories that express the what and avoid the how
• Apply five simple rules for writing effective User Stories
• Clarify assumptions in User Stories by adding context
• Identify and remove ambiguous and subjective terms and phrases in User Stories
• Select the appropriate format for expressing User Stories for Agile Projects
• Write stakeholder requirements in User Story format that solve business problems
• Elaborate User Stories to identify measurable non-functional requirements

VIEW COURSE OUTLINE at http://businessanalysisexperts.com/product/video-course-business-analysis-defined/.


The term “User Story” is a relative new addition to our language and its definition is evolving. In today’s parlance, a complete User Story has three primary components, namely the “Card”, the “Conversation”, and the “Criteria”. Different roles are responsible for creating each component. The “Card” expresses a business need. A representative of the business community is responsible for expressing the business need. Historically (and for practical reasons) the “Card” is the User Story from the perspective of the business community. Since we wrote this book specifically to address that audience, we use the term “User Story” in that context throughout.

The “Conversation” is an ongoing discussion between a developer responsible for creating software that meets the business need and the domain expert(s) who defined it (e.g., the original author of the “Card”). The developer initiates the “Conversation” with the domain expert(s) to define the “Criteria” and any additional information the developer needs to create the application. There is much to be written about both the “Conversation” and the “Criteria”, but neither component is dealt with in any detail in this publication.

A well-written User Story (“Card”) can drastically reduce the time needed for the “Conversation”. It reduces misinterpretations, misunderstandings, and false starts, thereby paving the way for faster delivery of working software. We chose to limit the content of this publication to the “User Story” as understood by the business community to keep the book focused and address the widest possible audience.

If you are tasked with defining the user requirements for an IT Solution, find more business analysis eCourses at http://businessanalysisexperts.com/product-category/self-paced-business-analysis-courses-online/.

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