Using User Stories

Since learning about them some nine years ago, I’ve found User Stories to be much handier for expressing what the system should do than the monolithic requirements documents I dealt with in the past.  User Stories have a number of advantages:

  • They can easily be shuffled into a different order.
  • You generally know (by the acceptance criteria) whether or not they’re done.
  • They don’t contain a lot of duplicated or contradictory detail.
  • The detail gets elaborated when it’s needed (rather than a long time prior, letting the details get out-of-date and/or forgotten).

I’ve created a two-page handout on writing and splitting User Stories.  I’m publishing it here in case it helps others.  And I would welcome any feedback on it.

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Comments (7) to “Using User Stories”

  1. Very useful handout. I can see it helping many novice agile teams. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks a lot! Just what I needed for the upcoming story writing workshop :)

  3. Thanks, I’ll make this available to my software engineering students!

  4. Nice document George — who says documents aren’t useful! :-) I’ll be pointing students in this direction.

  5. I’ve also found Gerard Meszaros Storyotypes idea to be pretty useful [] and I think Dan Rawsthorne did some extending of the idea []. Also Alistair Cockburn’s brief summary relating use cases and user stories helpful (not entirely clear to me yet, but helpful) []. Maybe some of these resources would be useful to users of the handout.

  6. […] written about User Stories before and made available a handout that includes a page on splitting stories that, in addition to […]

  7. […] Using User Stories by George Dinwiddie – List a few advantages of user stories, and includes a link to a helpful handout on “writing and splitting” user stories. […]

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