What Makes A Good User Story?

I’ve tried to describe below some key points which help keep stories relevant and meaningful. It is not always easy to write good stories, but practice does indeed help. When you and your team have a agreed format or set of principles of writing stories, I always find it helpful if they are visible somewhere as an aid to ensure keep reviewing your stories – and that you are sticking to the principles you have agreed!

  1. Keep stories simple
    • Avoid compound sentences (if’s, buts and ands etc.)
    • Avoid using complex sentences (except, unless etc.)
  2. Stories should focus on the what – not the how
    • No pre-conceived solutions
    • Business result, not technology
    • Destination not journey
  3. Keep stories relevant
    • Is it within project scope?
    • Something that is need and will add value
    • Will not cause cascading effect of changes that exceeds this projects authority
  4. Avoid ambiguity
    • Easily understandable language
    • Clear to all target audiences
  5. Ensure stories have measureable non-functional requirements
    • Frequency
    • Urgency
    • Volume
    • Accuracy
    • Usability
    • Learnability
    • Scalability
    • Reliability

Now we need to plan stories for our next release…