Creating User Stories for Developers

User stories are a core part of Agile software development and involve all of the roles of a Scrum team in some way. Developers have a unique responsibility in creating user stories.

What is a User Story?

A user story is a function or feature of a product. It is the smallest piece of a product that describes a behavior. They are simple actions that an average user might need to do in order to use the software. User stories are completely functional. They do not explore technical or system requirements or details at all. Every user story is focused on giving the user the ability to do something. How the system accomplishes these tasks is handled after the user stories are finished.

What Does a User Story Include?

Good user stories follow a general format. “As a <user>, I want <goal> so that <reason>.” This format allows the scrum team to create a user story that is neither too general, nor too specific. With simple answers, the format should describe a unique function that deserves its own user story.

User stories should be independent and stand on their own. Each user story describes a bite-sized feature that is distinct from other system behaviors. One large feature can have several different user stories. Each part that can accomplish a goal should have its own user story to mark it distinct from other parts of the feature. Developers often have to write code for individual parts of a feature. It is better to have user stories for each of the individual pieces so that developers do not have to write an entire large feature in one sprint.

59 Seconds Agile - Creating User Stories

59 Seconds Agile – Creating User Stories

Unlike traditional development, user stories of Agile are negotiable. Most functional specifications in waterfall development are set in stone. Once an organization clears a spec, the product must match that spec to the letter. Changes often require several official documents and stepping through layers of red tape. With Scrum, user stories remain negotiable even until development is finished. If a user story is deemed unnecessary, it can be scrapped or reworked into something more useful. Some user stories may describe larger features that would be difficult for developers to complete in a single sprint. In these cases, the team may split the user story into multiple smaller user stories.

Only user stories that offer value should be created. Creating user stories give concrete goals and targets. Since user stories do not describe technical details, they can focus on product behavior. This allows teams to break features down and developers to work on them bit by bit. However, user stories that do not contribute to the overall worth of the product should be left out.

The best user stories are small and estimable. Features that are too large become vague and difficult to give work estimates on. By breaking these features down into smaller pieces, each individual piece is small enough to give an estimate of how many story points they will require. Where traditional development estimates tasks by hours, Agile gives story points. Story points do not indicate a definite amount of time but refer to general effort. User stories with more story points will require more effort than user stories with fewer story points. Assigning story points to a user story gives an indication of how large and complex that feature is. However, the user story should still be small enough that developers can finish it within a sprint.

User stories should be testable. Software development occasionally has a hard time determining whether something works. Changes such as adding new fields and other additions may not be directly testable. Several of these changes may be required for a new feature to work as intended. In these cases, the user story should refer to the functional changes that can be confirmed working. Several tasks in a user story can cover changes that will not affect functionality, but the user story itself should include some feature change that can be tested. A developers work may not always be testable, but these necessary changes should be grouped into a user story that is.

Prev <— Continue Reading —> Next

Our Favourite Agile Books

Read Our Reviews

The History of Agile For Developers

Prior to the 1990’s software development was very slow, often taking years to complete development and release the product to market. The industry was following a very formal methodology for products and software development…

Read More

What is Agile to the Developer?

While traditional project management is still widely used, the benefits of an Agile approach to running a project are becoming more and more recognized. Where Agile has a distinct advantage over classic project management is the development of new products…

Read More

Why Use Agile as a Developer?

When determining if a move to Agile is right, a PESTLE can be used to simplify what factors should be considered. While Agile is sometimes thought of as a software development project management method, it isn’t just for these types of technology-centric companies…

Read More

The Agile Manifesto For Developers

Agile is a quick, simple, lightweight and effective way of managing projects. In traditional project management models…

Read More

The Agile Principles For Developers

When the Agile Manifesto was drawn up in 2001, it embodied four values and twelve principles that signaled a new approach to…

Read More

The Agile Fundamentals For Developers

Thinking of becoming a Scrum Master? Or are you already one, but you’re still new to the job? No matter what level of experience…

Read More

The Declaration of Interdependence For Developers

The Declaration of Interdependence establishes that all members, stakeholders, and customers are interdependent and…

Read More

The Agile Frameworks For Developers

There are many different Agile frameworks – all of them share the same philosophy and are built around the Agile Manifesto and Principles. But they vastly differ in their approaches, values, and structure. …

Read More

The Scrum Framework For Developers

The Agile Scrum framework is designed to deliver products and projects of any size. This includes projects, programs, and portfolios. Scrum provides guidelines on delivery techniques, events, and roles. Many of the same ceremonies are held within both a standard Agile scrum project and an Agile Scrum…

Read More

The Scrum Roles For Developers

Scrum is a useful tool for the creation, maintenance, plan, and execution of diverse products and services. The tool consists of…

Read More

The Scrum Team Size For Developers

The basics of Scrum can be easy but implementing them and succeeding with Scrum can be infinitely harder. Scrum …

Read More

The Agile Project Vision For Developers

At the heart of any great product is a great vision. It describes the primary goal or goals of a product and creates a focus that…

Read More

Forming the Scrum Team For Developers

Scrum is a framework that encourages delivery of potentially shippable product increments every 2-6 weeks. The work is…

Read More

Developing Epics For Developers

The term ‘epic’ in agile refers to a large user story that has not yet been defined in detail. Typically, an epic will cover a single…

Read More

The Agile Product Backlog For Developers

A Product Backlog is an organized collection of the existing User Stories (aka Wants and Needs) for an explicit business endeavor. Think of a shopping catalog of User Stories, ordered by urgency, that can be perused and selected from to determine what will be worked on during the current…

Read More

Release Planning For Developers

Although flexibility and adaptability are part and parcel of an agile methodology, this does not mean that no planning is required when…

Read More

Creating User Stories For Developers

User Stories are an integral part of the agile development process. They are an important agile technique that is used to frame…

Read More

Estimating User Stories For Developers

One of the principles of self-managing teams in Agile Scrum is working collaboratively with the Product Owner to effectively deliver…

Read More

Creating Tasks For Developers

According to The Agile Manifesto: “The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.” As a…

Read More

Estimating Agile Tasks For Developers

In Scrum, a list of user stories is produced and put together to form a product backlog, and each of these user stories will need to…

Read More

Creating the Sprint Backlog For Developers

The Sprint Backlog is defined as a group of user stories that are grouped together during the Sprint Planning Meeting. This…

Read More

Creating the Deliverables For Developers

Agile Scrum provides the framework for delivery of the vision of an organization. Execution of the vision includes processes, ceremonies and project deliverables that are also known as artifacts…

Read More

The Daily Stand-Up For Developers

The daily scrum is an opportunity for developers or anyone committed to working in the sprint to talk to each other to make sure the…

Read More

Product Backlog Prioritisation For Developers

The product backlog is a key element of Agile software development. It facilitates a development environment that creates valuable features and products for stakeholders…

Read More

The Sprint Review Meeting For Developers

The Sprint Review meeting comes at the end of the sprint and the goal of this meeting is to have key people in the room to be able …

Read More

Demonstrating and Validating the Sprint For Developers

As organizations migrate to Agile principles, there may be questions about how the organization can prove that there is value…

Read More

The Sprint Retrospective For Developers

A very simple step by step guide to help you choose the appropriate product development methodology from…

Read More

Releasing the Product For Developers

One of the most important milestones any project will ever have is finally releasing their product and putting it out there. It’s the…

Read More

Regression Testing For Developers

In companies using agile development, it is common to introduce changes in a product incrementally. Along with the new changes, unexpected issues may arise, testing whether the existing functionality is broken or not becomes very important…

Read More

Product Owners

Find out more about the Agile and the Product Owner Role

Read More

Developers

Find out more about the Agile and the Developer Role

Read More

More Articles

Read More

Chicken Appreciation Society

Share
Translate »