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User stories and the DoD

Last post 04:38 pm October 18, 2021 by Carlos Miguel Pimentel
6 replies
09:02 am October 11, 2021

One of the PSD open assessment questions asks "Should User Stories be part of the documentation generated by a Scrum Team?"

Now as Scrum does not prescribe the format for PBIs I chose the answer "Never"; however, the correct answer is apparently "If they are part of the Definition of Done."


My question to the community is why would the format of a PBI be a factor in deciding if the PBI has been completed or not,? 

In my view, the PBI is the object that the Developers create in order to help them achieve their Sprint Goal, and its format should have no impact whatsoever in allowing them to do this. 

11:58 am October 11, 2021

My question to the community is why would the format of a PBI be a factor in deciding if the PBI has been completed or not,? 

It may constitute part of the documentation generated by a team, as the answer suggests. Such documentation could support requirements traceability, something which might reasonably be a criterion of Done.

03:01 pm October 11, 2021

Take into consideration that all Product Backlog Items are part of the documentation generated by the team.  While Scrum itself does not require Product Backlog Items to be in any format, an organization can.  If the definition of Done mentions User Stories in any way then it becomes part of the documentation generated by the team.  Here are three examples of ways I have seen User Stories mentioned in the Definition of Done:

  • All Acceptance Criteria listed in the User Story has been met
  • User Story has been reviewed for completeness
  • Stakeholders have agreed that the User Story adequately describes the problem to be solved


04:09 pm October 11, 2021

Thank you for the clarification Daniel & Ian. 

07:37 am October 12, 2021

Slightly OT, but IbtT ("Inspired by the topic"): I would question the DoD if it made User Stories mandatory. I second Verheyen's point of view as stated in his Pocket Guide: there may be categories of requirements for which the User Story format is not the best choice, and making them mandatory could lead to waste and the risk of overlooking some important work.

02:52 pm October 12, 2021

I never said I agreed with it but I have seen it.  Personally, I'm not a big fan of the "standard" User Story format.  I prefer that each ticket use whatever format is best to convey the information needed to describe the problem statement.  Yes, uniformity can help with understanding in the long run, but not all problems are the same.

11:37 am October 18, 2021

I agree with Daniel. The "standard" User Story format, while it adds uniformity and makes it easier to write down, feels a little bit too robotic.

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