Sunday, January 25, 2009

User Stories and And…

In an earlier post I talked about the three elements of a good user story, who, what, and why. The word “and” does not belong in one of these elements. If you are not familiar with the three elements of a user story, read this post “User Stories and the 3 things that make them complete” before proceeding.

Check out this user story, can you spot the potential problem?

Daytime and nighttime customers want to add products to a shopping cart and checkout so they can select and purchase products.

The example is an awkward and big user story that covers a lot of functionality. The “what” section covers multiple pieces of functionality, the word “and” is your indication that the story is too big. This user story may be so big that the functionality may not be completed in a single sprint.

The example user story needs to be two separate user stories to show a separate user goal “what” per user story.

  1. As a customer I want to add products to a shopping cart so I have a container for the products I want.
  2. As a customer I want to check out so I can purchase products I want.

Each of the above user stories is a viable user story that can be ranked and implanted independent of the other. So look out for the word “and” in the “what” section of a user story as a warning that the user story is too broad.


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