Techniques for Gathering User Stories

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In Scrum, user stories act as requirements. Each story represents a portion of business value that a team can deliver in an iteration. A common format is: “As a (role), I want (goal) so that I can (reason).” Here's an example: “As a customer, I want shopping cart functionality so that I can buy items online.” User stories are captured in the product release backlog. This short article focuses on techniques for gathering user stories.

The following methods can help the Product Owner gather material for user stories:

Interviews: Ask a diverse group of users—or anticipated users if the product/service does not yet exist—open-ended questions containing "how" or "why." For example: "How would you pair this device with your iPhone?”

Observation: Watch people using the product/service.

Prototyping: Use tools such as sticky notes, PowerPoint, and wireframes to illustrate ideas, show preliminary versions of the product, and facilitate discussions.

Surveys: Employ surveys where the Product Owner verbally asks respondents pre-determined questions, or questionnaires where items are presented via forms (online or in hard copy format).

Workshops: This is a type of brainstorming where the group identifies as many user story ideas as possible. To support getting a high quantity of ideas, it is suggested that participants should not agree/disagree with or assess items during the workshop.

The above content includes excerpts from the book,
Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions. It’s available in paperback and ebook formats at Amazon. The press kit is available at agilescrumguide.com.

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