Right-Sizing User Stories


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Given by Steve Ropa, VersionOne.

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  • What is a User Story?A User Story describes functionality that will be valuable to a User Role of a system or softwareUser Stories are composed of 3 aspectsCardConversationConfirmation
  • There are many different sizes of users story. No one size fits all, and what might appear very large to some teams might appear to be just fine to others.
  • Sometimes, a story is so large that we really don’t need a lot of extra analysis to know that they are just too large for words. In most shops, these stories are called epics.
  • Relative scale is really the crux of story sizing.
  • Really, as long as a story is satisfying those INVEST principals, there really isn’t a size limit on the small side. It can be taken to the extreme, but in the end it is about providing some level of business value to the customer.
  • We really want our stories to be sized so that we don’t carry them over very often. If we can keep in mind that our goal is to provide a piece of functionality that can actually add value, no matter how small that value is, we will go a long way into finding the right sized stories for us.
  • Too often I will hear “well we finished the story, but the testing had to wait until the next iteration”.
  • Right-Sizing User Stories

    1. 1. Writing Better UserStories
    2. 2. © 2011 VersionOne 2• Steve Ropa– Steven.ropa@versionone.com– Agile Coach– Certified Scrum Master– Certified Scrum Product Owner– 19 years software development• 11 years programming• 8 years director of development– 10 years Agile experience• XP• Scrum– http://blog.versionone.com/blog/agile-musings
    3. 3. © 2011 VersionOne 3What is a User Story?Functionality ValuableUser Role
    4. 4. © 2011 VersionOne 4Three Parts of a User StoryConversation ConfirmationCard
    5. 5. © 2011 VersionOne 5INVEST - Attributes of a good StoryIndependentNegotiableValuableEstimableSized AppropriatelyTestable
    6. 6. © 2011 VersionOne 6So What is “Sized Appropriately?
    7. 7. © 2011 VersionOne 7Sometimes its easy to tell….
    8. 8. © 2011 VersionOne 8Other times, its all relative
    9. 9. © 2011 VersionOne 9• A single team can develop this story ina single iteration• If we are going to do more than onestory in an iteration, we might want toshrink that a bit…A story should be small enough that….
    10. 10. © 2011 VersionOne 10What can we do to break a big story into smaller ones?
    11. 11. © 2011 VersionOne 11• Functional lines– When I log in, if I use the right user name andpassword, I can get to the main page where I canstart shopping for great buys from Hershey’s,Mars, and Necco.• I can login with the right user name and password• I can’t login with the wrong user name and password• I can shop for candy from…– Hershey– Mars– NeccoWe can break it along…
    12. 12. © 2011 VersionOne 12• When I log in I can shop for candy atany store I like. If I’m a premiumuser, I can also get a list of where myfavorite candy is available cheap, bycandy type. If I’m a regular user, I canonly see lists of stores that are sellingcandy online…User Roles…
    13. 13. © 2011 VersionOne 13• As any user, I can login to the systemwith my user name and password.Login
    14. 14. © 2011 VersionOne 14• As a regular user, I can see lists ofstores that are selling candy on line,and navigate to that store for myshopping.Regular User
    15. 15. © 2011 VersionOne 15• As a premium user, I can see a list ofmy favorite kinds of candy, with linksthat will take me to where I can get thebest price.Premium User
    16. 16. © 2011 VersionOne 16Every team is differentSome teams want to workone good sized storytogetherOthers want a bunch ofsmall stories that can bedistributed among theteam
    17. 17. © 2011 VersionOne 17Is there such a thing as a story that is too small?
    18. 18. © 2011 VersionOne 18• Until we start developing it– Break out the smaller stories now– Leave enough substance in the initialstory to have something to show for yourwork.Sometimes, the story looks ok….
    19. 19. © 2011 VersionOne 19• What are some examples of a storythat “feels” too big?• How might we break it down together?Audience Participation
    20. 20. © 2011 VersionOne 20The goal for a story is “Done”
    21. 21. © 2011 VersionOne 21Not just “Dev Complete”…
    22. 22. © 2011 VersionOne 22Thank you, and any questions?