Articulating Value With User Stories
User stories are used to articulate the value we want end users to get from a given feature. Writing a story is as simple as filling out a ticket for a sandwich at the deli; you specify what you want, the sandwich is made per your specifications, you inspect your order and then pay for it if it meets the requirements you outlined; it’s a work ticket for an independent, negotiable, valuable, estimable, small, testable deliverable.
The below template and example demonstrates how to write a user story.
Who Is The User
Be specific when defining the user. Is this person a registered user? Are they a gold member in your rewards program? Are they an employee? What kind of employee are they? If you have research or platform data that characterizes your users, you can use a persona. For more on personas, see usability.gov.
What Is The User Doing
Put yourself in the user’s shoes; you are doing something to get value. What do you want, need, are able, are required to do? A good rule of thumb is to write the story in the first person.
Why Is This User Doing This
Goal is an optional line. It’s useful as a sanity check to question if what our user did can logically achieve their goal by doing it that way. If it takes too much time to articulate the goal, move on and write the next story; the beauty of stories in Agile is that every requirement and specification for the project does not have to be thought out before any work is done, only the highest priority stories are selected to be fleshed out for development; lower priority stories are there any time to discuss and they are only further defined if their level of priority increases relative to other stories entering the backlog.
There you have it, stories articulate the value intended, they are the cornerstone to writing quality software requirements or any ticket of work that extends value to an end user.
While Agile was designed to produce quality software on time and below budget. Many businesses use Agile tools like stories to improve other processes.