[Agile Guide] – Writing Good User Stories

This past month has been a good month to review what makes up a good user story. Several bloggers have posted on this topic and the Agile Scout has put together two of the best and decomposed them here.

Karen Greaves (@karen_greaves) has written about breaking down user stories and gives the reader a very simplistic view of the components of a user story. Interestingly enough to us, it was almost deja-vu-like to read her blog because it looked exactly like how we have broken down user stories for our clients!

Roman Pichler (@romanpichler) wrote previously about what makes up a good user story and 10 great tips on the small nuances of making sure your user story is in top notch shape for developer consumption. What we like most about Roman’s advice is that he suggests that people use paper cards (Oh no! Not a tool?!). Yes paper cards. Call us old fashioned, but we still believe in the tangible card and a big wall to post stuff on. But if you’d like to see the biggest list of Agile tools out there, you can always go here.

Recently, Zubair Ahmed (@zubairdotnet) wrote a post on how to gather Agile requirements through stories. Starting with the questions: “What is a story,” and moving into his observations from a presentation by Mike Cohn.

Truth be told, we actually use a Kanban system with paper cards and a wall to ensure that we push content to the Agile Scout blog on time and with quality. No tools (yet) for us!

While we’re here talking about good user stories, it’s always good to remember Bill Wake’s INVEST and SMART models:

  • I – Independent
  • N – Negotiable
  • V – Valuable
  • E – Estimable
  • S – Small
  • T – Testable
  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Achievable
  • R – Relevant
  • T – Time-boxed

Find more about Bill Wake’s models here and jump on the [VIA] links below to hit up Karen Greaves and Roman Pichler‘s awesome posts as well as Zubair Ahmed‘s as well.


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