The Trouble With Software (and what to do about it)

5 Common Mistakes Writing User Stories in Agile Development

Posted in Agile Development,General Overview by Ernie Schell on December 9, 2012

Krystian Kaczor writes on the Scrum Alliance Website: “Most of the issues with gathering requirements in agile software development and agile testing derive from issues with User Stories. Somehow expressing requirements in such a simple form causes a lot of trouble to agile teams.”

He further asserts that mistakes in User Story scenarios lead to wrong Test Cases, a poor understanding of requirements, and inappropriate implementation, which can be a “direct cause of rejecting the deliverables of the iteration.”

His five most common mistakes people make writing User Stories:

1. Not clearly identifying who “The User” is

2. Not understanding the Business Role of The User

3. Defining the Business Role incorrectly

4. Providing no Business Value or Benefit for The User

5. Defining no Acceptance Criteria or Conditions of Satisfaction for The User

As a perfect analog to these Role & Development ambiguities, there is also what I will call “Function Ambiguity.” For instance, how do you define “Customer Relationship Management?” Everyone probably has their own way of conceiving what it is, so how in the world are developers supposed to meet a generic set of needs and requirements, since, in Venn Diagram style, there is probably a small area of overlap among these different definitions. For a good example of this, see “Defining CRM: Thoughts from three experts” on the Marketing Sherpa blog.


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