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How to Write User Stories

How to write user stories

How to Write User Stories – Transcript – Video Below

Hi, Philip Chesney here from AgiFall. For today’s video, we are going to see how to write user stories. First, user stories are a short description of a small piece of business functionality that usually takes 1-3 days to complete.  In many cases, teams will break down specific product features into more manageable, bite sized pieces and put them onto index cards, sticky notes or into other programs like Jira etc. Once we have these user stories written, they are added to the backlog and then prioritized as per the customers’ needs. You will choose user stories that add the most value to the stakeholder, end user or customer.


Let’s See How to Write User Stories 


Candidate Stories

Start by writing down possible stories otherwise known as candidate stories. We write these stories because we believe they will be part of building a particular feature. Let’s imagine a feature e.g. taking a picture on phone. Now, some of the candidate user stories could be: create a zoom function; add a video record option; add filters etc. The team then needs to give an initial estimate on how long the stories will take. As we start our release planning, we can then go back and re-estimate the stories to give more detail.


Write Stories with the Customer’s Perspective

Officially though, they are not user stories.  To become user stories, they need to be written from the perspective of the customer and then written on the cards. Our user stories must reflect what the user desires and the language and way he would describe it. You should have an idea of who your customers are and create a list of personas. See the video on how to use/write personas.


User Story Format

Look at a format we can follow. This isn’t the only format, but it’ the one I’ll present today.

  1. As a (role/user)
  2. I want (functionality)
  3. So that (benefit)

For example: as a lover of picture taking on my cellphone, I want to be able to zoom in with high resolution so that I can take great pictures of nature and animals.

One valuable thing to remember is that when we write the stories, we need to be able to test them, so we can know when they are finished. This is known as the acceptance criteria. The story is done and accepted by the customer or it is declined. It is only one or the other. So, we need to write our stories so we can test them accordingly.


Example 2

Here is another example: As a project manager, I want the website to offer a series of how-to videos, so that when I have difficulty or want to review something, I can easily learn how to do it.

There are multiple ways to keep track of your user stories. I have added a downloadable Excel option here.

User Stories Template


Other professionals may use Jira or other PM tools to keep track of their user stories. Just remember though, the best-case scenario is if these stories can be visible. If you have wall space, put them up on the wall! This helps increase collaboration, promotes transparency, and others will know when there are new stories up on the board.


One More Example Before We Go!

Before we wrap up, let’s look at one more user story to solidify the concept.  As a user, I want to be able to log into the platform via Facebook so that I can access my account. Right below it, we also have our acceptance criteria: account login can be done via Facebook for all user accounts. So, there you have it.


Wrap Up

I hope that you have liked today’s tip and will be able to put it into practice. Feel free to leave any questions, comments, or share how you and your team normally write your user stories, and make sure to subscribe to the channel and share it with your team. Click here for more Project Management How-to Videos!

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