Creating User Stories for Scrum Masters

User Stories are an integral part of the agile development process. They are an important agile technique that is used to frame requirements needed for product functionality. User stories don’t have to be complex to be effective. In fact, they should be simple, short definitions that contain just enough information for the development team to provide value back to the end-user. They should be easy to understand and represent the collaborative nature of agile. They should be used as more of a collaborative tool than as an actual documentation of the requirement.

What does that mean? Essentially user stories are important pieces of agile development because they provide a way for development teams, scrum masters, and product owners to embody agile values, not because of some complex requirement documentation.

So Who Writes a User Story?

Since user stories should be used as an agile tool in a collaborative manner, the whole team should know how to write and update them. User Stories are not all written at the onset of a project but instead are written through the product-development cycle. This fluid nature makes it important that all team members are up to date on how to write a good user story.

Initially, product owners should write the user story and make sure the requirements needed to deliver value back to the customer is detailed. Since product owners bridge the gap between the customer and the development team, it is important they are involved to make sure important business requirements are included. Once the product owner drafts out the user stories, the rest of the team should get involved to flesh out the rest of the requirements and come up with a plan to implement the user stories. Scrum Masters can play an important role in creating the user stories.

59 Seconds Agile - Creating User Stories

59 Seconds Agile – Creating User Stories

So Who Writes a User Story?

Since Scrum Masters should be knowledgeable in all things dealing with the scrum processes, they can be good at limiting the scope of a user story so that it doesn’t include too much for the development team to handle. Therefore, a collaborative method is best for creating good user stories.

How Do You Create a Good User Story?

Writing user stories is often not hard. However, writing good user stories can be. User stories should tell a story and should help facilitate the development of the product without being too complex or simple. Taken together, they create the product backlog which serves as the requirement document needed for the project.

A good user story should INVEST:

Independent. A good user story should be independent of other user stories. The more independent user stories are from one another, the better and easier it is to change things down the line.  While this is not always possible, often splitting or combining them will solve the problem.

Negotiable. This means that the user story should allow for some discussion later. Things should be able to be negotiable and flexible in nature. Putting in too much detail at the onset will make discussion harder later on.

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