The Scrum methodology of agile software development marks a dramatic departure from waterfall management. In fact, Scrum and other agile processes were inspired by its shortcomings. The Scrum methodology emphasizes communication and collaboration, functioning software, and the flexibility to adapt to emerging business realities — all attributes that suffer in the rigidly ordered waterfall paradigm.

24th
OCT

Scrum User Stories

Posted by admin under Scrum Basics

In Scrum, work is expressed in the backlog as user stories. A team may write its user stories in a number of ways as long as they are written from the perspective of the end user. Put another way, team members are encouraged to think of their work from the perspective of who will use it (hence “user” story). A team can express a story as a noun (i.e. “text message” on a cell phone project) or a sentence or phrase (i.e. “debug GPS tracking system”).

Many Scrum teams have adopted the user story template developed by Mike Cohn, which identifies who the end user is, what the end user wants, and why in a single sentence. This model of the user story is most often written like this: “As a [end user role], I want [the desire] so that [the rationale].

To illustrate, consider how a developer working on a calculator application for a PC might express his work. First, the developer would want to identify who will benefit from this appication: a PC user. Second, he would want to decide what the PC user will want to get out of it: a convenient, prepackaged calculator application. Third, he would want to be able to explain why it’s important for the PC user to have this application. This piece of information is the most open to interpretation, but one can safely assume that the PC user would want to use it to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Thus the developer’s user story could read something like the following: “As a PC user, I want a calculator with basic functionality on my PC so that I can conveniently perform basic mathematic operations.”

In summary, user stories document requirements with particular attention to the end user’s point of view. Stories can be written in myriad ways, but Cohn’s model really works in Scrum because it provides so much information about the story. Because user stories are oriented to reflect the desires of the end user, they help developers remain focused on the customer.

Watch a Product Owner and Scrum Team write user stories. (Around the 7 minute mark.)

User_story

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Reader's Comments

  1. the rasx() context » Blog Archive » Some Simple Scrum Words |

    [...] Evidently “story” refers to a use story or user story. “In Scrum, work is expressed in the backlog as user stories. A team may write its user stories in a number of ways as long as they are written from the perspective of the end user. Put another way, team members are encouraged to think of their work from the perspective of who will use it (hence ‘user’ story). A team can express a story as a noun (i.e. ‘text message’ on a cell phone project) or a sentence or phrase (i.e. ‘debug GPS tracking system’).”—scrummethodology.com [...]

  2. Bobette Uriostejue |

    Interesting read. There is currently quite a lot of information around this subject around and about on the net and some are most defintely better than others. You have caught the detail here just right which makes for a refreshing change – thanks.

  3. Rachel |

    How can this help the documentation writers create documentation during the scrum process?

  4. Planning Poker for Personal Priorities « Becoming an Agile Family |

    [...] of us wrote 12 cards (stories) about things we wanted or needed to do in the traditional story format of “I want (to)” or “I need (to)”. The only “rule” was that you [...]

  5. John Ortiz |

    I like the calculator example. It is useful to understand. Thanks.

  6. Requirement, User Story, Acceptance Criteria « Sirri on The Web |

    [...] fine della nostra iterazione lavorativa abbiamo fatto il task relativo alla User Story, ma quando possiamo dire che una User Story è stata completata realmente? Cioè quando soddisfa i [...]

  7. Why I really love SCRUM | Daniel R. Odio - Hardcore LifeHacker Entrepreneur in Silicon Valley |

    [...] should also define what a “story” is, because that term is used all the time.  A story is a project requirement that’s given from the perspective of the stakeholder.  What that [...]

  8. Valtech Labs » Statusrapport från Talangprogrammet – var ligger värdet i sprint 0? |

    [...] sade igång med vår sprintplanering. Tillsammans med vår produktägare tog vi fram en backlog med user stories, som sedan delades upp i tasks som tidsuppskattades och sattes upp på vår scrum-board, jämte [...]

  9. Scrum Estimating Experiences - jSolutions Blog |

    [...] team also has a backlog that is proving difficult to estimate as the features are more Epics than Stories. This is being addresses by the PO. However, questions are being raised as to how to ‘do [...]

  10. Scrum in Marketing – The Backlog | Mobility Journey |

    [...] the marketing themes at the very top. This helps us break down the bigs thing too do into smaller stories in order of [...]

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