A user story is a tool in agile software development used to capture a description of a software feature from a user’s perspective. The user story describes the type of user, what they want and why. A user story helps to create a simplified description of a requirement.
Why is it used?
The purpose of a user story is to write down how a project will deliver value back to the end user. It is then the development team’s job to take care of how to develop the code that will satisfy the requirements of the user story. In best-case scenarios, developers collaborate closely with the business owners and stakeholders to clarify the details as the code gets developed.
User stories do not replace use cases or technical requirements documentation. Instead, user stories can be written by product developers to help prioritise how functionality is going to be added to a project over the project timeframe. A user story can be considered a starting point to a conversation that establishes the real product requirement.
When is it helpful?
User stories provide development teams with important context before a project even begins. They place emphasis on the user and focus on solving real situations a customer might face. This can help development teams think more critically and creatively. Additional benefits of using user stories include:
– Increased visibility and collaboration across the development team.
– Can save time when prioritising the development of requirements and functionality.
– Helps avoid restrictions that occur when specification details are defined too early on.
– Higher clarity around business value and delivering products that end users actually need.
– How is it applied?
A user story template often follows the same format. The three components of a user story are:
Who– This is typically a job role, customer or type of user, also known as the user persona.
What– This is the goal that the user wants the product to accomplish or implement.
Why– This is the reason why the user needs the feature or functionality.
The end result is a sentiment like, “As a <who>, I want <what> so that <why>.” Further detail can be added to a user story by breaking it into smaller user stories and grouping them into themes.
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