User Stories TIPS

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User stories represent outcomes

When used properly, user stories represent the outcomes you’re trying to reach with your product. Jenny Martin describes the OOPSI model which provides a way to find the “highest value outcomes (expressed in user stories), then the highest value outputs that achieve those outcomes, then the highest value processes that deliver those outputs, then the highest value scenarios and examples that help clarify the required implementation.”

Story Epilogues

If you’re looking for a way to keep your user stories confined to as small of a scope as possible, you may want to try a technique that John Cutler uses. He works backwards from a theoretical discussion with his users post-release to consider “how to de-scope, thin out, split, batch, and divide work.

How to describe user stories

User stories are helpful, but not sufficient, for describing your product.  They often need to be coupled with other techniques to properly describe the problem you’re trying to solve and what the solution should look like.  This post from Kent McDonald describes how to use acceptance criteria, models, and examples to further describe user stories.

User Stories Essentials

If you’d like a deeper understanding of how user stories came about and how they should be used in the broader activity of delivering a specific outcome, take a look at this quick reference put together by Jeff Patton. You’ll find out how to use stories as the “tokens for the conversations you’ll use to plan, design, describe, construct, and validate your product.”

An Overview of User Stories

Mike Cohn literally wrote the (first) book on user stories which became the basis for the industry standard view of stories. He compiled this overview of information about user stories that provides a good introduction to the technique and includes access to a couple hundred example user stories to get you started.