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A Gentle Introduction to Agile/Scrum User Stories For Beginners

This guide is DEPRECATED, here is the updated version.

Have you ever thought of what a user would do with your application?

No matter how well-architectured the app you built is, if it brings no value to users, chances are, no one will use it.

In simple terms, user stories are brief, informal descriptions of a software feature told from the perspective of the users. These answer the "who," "what," and "why" of a single task/functionality in an application.

User Story Format

As a(n) <user type>, I want to <function> so I can <benefit>
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Example

As a customer, I want to view the list of menu items, so I can easily choose what food to order.

The user type answers the "who," the function refers to the "what," and finally, the benefit explains the "why" in a user story.

Pros and Cons

Advantages of User Stories:

  • helps ensure that a functionality brings user value
  • follows Agile/Scrum core principles
  • makes it easier to organize software functionality, as it leaves out implementation details
  • allows team members of different expertise and backgrounds to plan an application more easily
  • encourages conversations rather than simply handing out document details
  • simple to prioritize and reorder, especially for product backlog items
  • easily understood by both clients and developers

Disadvantages of User Stories:

  • does not explain the "how?"
  • does not involve nonfunctional requirements (e.g. fault tolerance, performance, usability, modifiability)
  • user stories are not substitutes to business requirements
  • the lack of implementation details means that the processes could vary a lot from team to team
  • can be misunderstood and misused
  • can lose its original essence/purpose (especially in companies and teams that are "agile" only for compliance purposes)

User Story Opinion

From here on, I will most likely utilize user stories before I begin coding my application. Even if I don't write them down, it helps a lot to keep in mind the perspective of a user when building an application and planning its features.

Resources/Recommended Reading:

DISCLAIMER:

This post only expresses my thoughts and opinions (based on my limited knowledge) and is in no way a substitute for actual references. If I ever make a mistake or if you disagree, I would appreciate corrections in the comments!

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