Beginner Question - User Story

Last post 07:29 pm May 20, 2014
by Ian Mitchell
7 replies
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05:38 am May 19, 2014

Hello!

I try to use Scrum for the first time. The Product Owner was ordered to write his User Stories but what I got was something like:

1. The Tool must not have any problems with special characters
a. The filename for each company has the following structure: companyname_id.xlsx
b. Name of the first Worksheet is "Code"
- Name of the first column is: xxxx

....

I got a 3 page long document with orders like this. My Question is now how do I transform that into UserStories?

The user doesnt want any problems with special characters.
The user wanna have a output file structure like companyname_id.xlsx
The user want that the name of the first worksheet is "Code"
The user want that the name of the first column in the first worksheet is xxxx

Is that right?

07:31 am May 19, 2014

Hi Tobi,

When writing it’s best to follow the so-called INVEST model. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INVEST_(mnemonic)
Furthermore it’s important that each story needs to add Business Value to the customers.

Your stories looks more like “acceptance criteria” instead of user stories.
I have no context of your business but here is an example:
As wholesaler I would like my xxx sheet to be automatically generated so that it saves me time etc. etc. etc.

Acceptance Criteria:
- The Tool must not have any problems with special characters
- The filename for each company has the following structure: companyname_id.xlsx
- Name of the first Worksheet is "Code"
- Name of the first column is: xxxx

08:35 am May 19, 2014

Hi!
Thanks for your answer. I thought that Acceptance Criteria are set by the programmer not by the procuct owner.

11:00 am May 19, 2014

Important to note that the User Stories practice is not part of Scrum, but is a complementary practice to Scrum. Many teams use US to represent PBI's.

Be sure to read the part of the Scrum Guide that pertains to Product Backlog management. Essentially, the decisions are owned by the PO, and the legwork of who documents/maintains the PBL is a collaboration between PO and Team.

Also see:
http://www.ScrumCrazy.com/userstories
(and be sure and see all the links at the bottom of the article)

03:46 pm May 19, 2014

Tobi007, from what you posted, I'm curious if your designated Product Owner has had any training or instruction in writing User Stories.

It is OK if they haven't. Remember, the goal is to seek consistent improvement, and if you start close to the bottom, you have little choice but to go up.

That said, what is critical from the Product Owner is not necessarily the format of the user story statement (although I have a preference for "As a... I want... So that..."), but that the user story is stated from a value perspective independent of any technical solution.

An easy way to think of this is that the PO is in charge of the "what", and the team is in charge of the "how". You need to phrase the user story in a way that allows the team to leverage their technical knowledge to come up with the solution.

04:20 pm May 19, 2014

Maybe you should try to plan some workshops with your PO and some people from the dev-team, instead of having the PO writing pages on his own and then casting the pages.

04:24 pm May 19, 2014

Hi Tobi,

Acceptance Criteria can be set by the entire scrum team which includes the PO.
Ultimately setting up the PBI boundaries should be a joined effort. The moment you start thinking of "theirs", "us", "my" etc. you're closing doors in terms of collaborating with our PO/Stakeholders.

07:29 pm May 20, 2014

> The Product Owner was ordered to write his User Stories
...
> I got a 3 page long document with orders like this...

Orders are not a great tool for communication where creative work is concerned. This is the sort of problem that does arise when people are ordered to do things instead of collaborating effectively.

Scrum is an agile framework that values collaboration highly. A Product Backlog should be understood by both the Product Owner and the Development Team, and so the whole Scrum Team should contribute towards its refinement.