Friday, January 25, 2008

Gathering User Stories

My short summary of the book User Stories Applied by Mike Cohn.

In the previous post we saw why it is important to define roles and some techniques how to describe them.

When we have specified roles we need user stories. User stories need to be gathered somehow. Of course, the best practice is to gather user stories from user or customer. In any case, one should avoid to try to define user stories without user/customer.

Following techniques can be used to generate user stories:
  • User interviews
  • Questionnaires
  • Observation
  • Story Writing workshops
User interview is usually preferred style of user story gathering. Although interview seems simple way, usually it is not so easy. You must be able to lead interview but also to ask right questions.

Questionnaires are not so famous style of user stories gathering but can be useful if you have lot of users. In this case survey can be very good to gather information about features users would like to have.

Observation is simple but no always possible. But observing user how she interacts with your software can give you real understanding about her needs and how software should be changed to help her.

Story writing workshops can be very rapid way for generating number of user stories. These workshops are very productive but quality of workshop can depend on the meeting leader. For me, story writing workshop with right persons on the workshop is preferred way for gathering user stories.

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