As the name implies, the user story is about the relationship between the user and the product, seen from the perspective of the customer. It is an effective way to understand why – or why not – they would want your product, and it is particularly helpful to visualize some new or more specific functionality, in order to measure the value for the customer. Let’s go deeper.
What is a User Story?
In product management and software development, a user story is a non-formal simple language illustration of one or more components of a software system. It is the smallest component of Agile software development, used to describe a software property from the user’s view.
The goal of a user story is to effectively communicate how a software property will give the customer maximum satisfaction or value. Once the user story has played its role, the development team takes it up from there. They come up with codes that will gratify the needs of the user story. In some cases, software developers work with the stakeholders and owners of the business to certify the features of the code as they are being developed.
A critical element of agile software development is putting users first — and the user story does that. It applies unspecialized vocabulary to create conditions for the developers and their exertions and helps the team to know what they are creating, their reason for creating, and the worth users would get from it.
User stories, themes, epics, and initiatives are the components that aid the organization of the practicality needed to develop a customer-centered software solution. Take a look at the diagram below.
- Themes are the competitive goal;
- Initiative is each assemblage of epic used in achieving the primary goal;
- Epics are advanced business requirements implemented in each iteration, and they are disintegrated into smaller stories;
- User Stories are brief demands that give value, written from a user’s view.
Properties of a User Story
An agile user story should be brief and written by the company in a language the consumer understands. Writing in familiar terms helps the company and the development team better understand the user’s needs and the reasons behind the needs.
There are scenarios where a user story is given a distinctive identifier and a precedence level. A distinctive identifier is usually a number that helps the developers keep tabs on the number of available user stories and their completion period. On the other hand, the precedence level indicates the number of developers required, the duration, and the demands of the feature. The precedence level is exclusive to the team.
In addition, the user story should include acceptance criteria used to determine the limits of the story and the requirements needed to complete it. Acceptance criteria, in Agile, refers to a collection of predefined conditions that have to be attained to note a complete story. Also, they define the range and conditions that developers must carry out to evaluate the story as complete. As a result, it is occasionally referred to as the “definition of done”.
How to Write an Effective User Story
Like most first experiences in performing a task, writing a user story for the first time can be challenging. The creation of user stories is usually done in the initial stage of development. It is used to plan sprints and iteration, though they can be written at any point.
First of all, ser stories usually the three Ws below:
- Who is the user?
- What does the user want the creation to yield?
- Why does the user need that particular feature?
Moreover, there are some points to help you to create compelling user stories:
Make the users your priority
The whole essence of a story is to verify effectiveness from a user’s view. Ensure you incorporate user-specified, accurate information and poll users. The user could be a system in some situations.
Define users’ personalities
It is vital to understand your users when writing a story. If it means making up imaginary personalities that depict your mark audience or end-users, do so. Also, you need information like the challenges your users need to solve, their purchasing manners, and the general objectives. Instead of generic roles, use personality names.
Keep things simple
Always maintain a precise and concise story. Concentrate only on significant points and write in an active voice.
During the development of user stories, ensure you work with all important stakeholders.
Include acceptance criteria
Include acceptance criteria that describe what makes up “done” for that same story.
Start with epics
Start with a more extensive story to thoroughly comprehend the general effectiveness, and afterward get into components of the main feature. This helps you drive the story to blend into an iteration or a single story.
Put user story on display in an accessible area
Putting user stories in open spaces for visibility promotes partnership all through the development task. You can use flow diagrams, charts, sketches, and story maps to improve your display.
Be open to feedback
Feedbacks let you improve your function to give optimum value to the user. Agile development welcomes feedback.
Examples of a User Story
- Like Kim, I want to dress up, so I can have a photoshoot;
- As a team lead, I want to listen to my teammates’ ideas so that we can meet our target;
- As a teacher, I need to be attentive to the needs of my students so that I can help them grow.
Benefits of the User Story
- Focus on the user and make the team remain concentrated on providing solutions to users’ problems;
- Motivate and inspire the development team to be creative and critical when creating solutions;
- Help in time management when itemizing the development of conditions and effectiveness;
- Aid teamwork, as the team joins forces to find the best way to provide the best service to the user and attain their dream;
- Help prevent limitations that arise due to the definition of specification details when they are defined too early on.
Challenges of a User Story
User stories come with their challenges, just like most events of life. In the words of Mike Cohn, software requirements are a communication problem. The demand for effective communication can be a burden to some stakeholders within. In addition, making sure the story is concise enough to give value without giving up its simplicity can also be tasking.
On the other hand, the process of developing a user story is done with the aim of creating solutions, not problems, for the business. Therefore, communication between the users and stakeholders is encouraged, in order to yield a more dynamic and useful product.
A user story ultimately aids the redirection of software development organizations from a partisan demand-driven method to a collective, customer-centered method. Besides, it is straight-to-the-point, simple, and encapsulates the customer’s needs, thus delivering even more value to the end-users – the most relevant people in your work.