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How to Write the Product Backlog Item as Hypothesis

October 14, 2019


Hello awesome people. It's me again with a new learning from within a Scrum Team. The Development Team I was working with around 3 months ago challenged the Product Owner about the User Story she brought into the Sprint Planning. As a Scrum Master facilitating the Sprint Planning, I listened closely to the Development Team's concern. And when you listen, you will learn from the team. The Development Team felt the Sprint was like a feature factory because the Product Owner does not tie the user story with goals or purpose and value driven metrics as success indicator.

Scrum does not require the team to write their Product Backlog items as User Story. User Story is an option but if the team feels there is a better option they can come up with and own, they should go with that option. After a long discussion, we come up with a better way to write the Product Backlog item that can turn the Sprint to be more purposeful and metric driven as shown below here. This is nothing new as we took the idea of Hypothesis driven development from the Lean startup community.

After several Sprints, the Development Team does not feel the Sprint as a feature factory but rather an engine to validate the business and the Scrum Team's assumption. They feel the Sprint is more purposeful as there is a value driven metric and consumer outcome as the success indicator. They have more ownership and better engagement with the Product Owner too.


Here is the video that explains the Hypothesis format:

You can download this template from:

I hope this Hypothesis template can help you change the nature of your Sprint and the energy within your Scrum team which will result in awesome products. Let me know how it works out for your team by leaving a comment below.

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