A Guide To Writing Good User Stories

A short read on the importance of user stories in the app development cycle
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A user story is an informal description of a software application that has been written from the end user's perspective. They essentially are written keeping the persona and purpose of the app in mind and are a great way of expressing the requirements and functionalities of the application. User stories are widely used, especially in Agile frameworks, to understand business needs more clearly as they aid in understanding certain features or particulars of the application in a clearer manner. They are an integral part of the planning and development process as they not only help to vocalise the features but also bring about a discussion around them through open-ended questions which in turn can help developers to enhance the app. Another reason why user stories are gaining popularity in the software development industry is because they provide a clear picture of the intricacies of the project through thorough investigation which can help to plan and implement any further sprints with more efficiency.

Here are some ways to craft great user stories:

Focus On The User

When writing a user story, it is important to focus on the user and understand the requirements that they might have. As the name suggests, a user story is written to articulate the needs of the customer and the solution that the app offers because of which it is critical for product managers to conduct a thorough analysis of the market and understand it from the viewpoint of the potential customer. It is key to analyse the product and its various advantages before crafting a well-written user story which is based on empirical data from real user insight instead of speculative data which will render the entire activity to be redundant.

Collaborative Effort

User stories are essentially a result of collaborative efforts as they are a byproduct of an agile environment. It is important for the development team to function as a cohesive unit and conduct regular standups to discuss the progress on the application as this structured system of receiving feedback helps to shape user stories through a collective approach. Another reason why collaboration is integral in a development setting is because there are multiple parties , i.e. testers, developers, designers etc, who are involved in the project and it is essential that they are all on the same page.  Collaboration not only helps the team to not miss out on any essential particulates but also help to find better solutions through refined user stories which are a result of brainstorming.

Follow An Incremental Approach

While collaboration is highly important to write user stories, it is also critical that this is implemented in an incremental way for the activity to reach its maximum potential. With the multiple departments that are involved in the same project, it is important for the team members to communicate and discuss with each other about the progress at regular intervals as they can take it forward from there by working in sequence. User stories are an important agile development tool which are curated by the product managers and for them to be truly effective, it is essential that the development team is working as a unit in cyclic-defined iterations with set milestones wherein user stories are developed and constantly enhanced through a system of feedback.

Write Short User Stories

The mindset that goes behind writing a user story is to analyse a success of an application by understanding the end-user because of which it is wise to write short and effective stories that are comprehensive and defined. The goal of a user story is not to write an elaborate and descriptive piece but a short description containing just the essential information that is necessary to understand the end result of the development process. Give the application a persona to understand it better whilst crafting a user story that answers questions like what the product does and its potential significance in the target market.

Maintain An Acceptance Criteria

Maintaining an acceptance criteria for your user stories is an effectual way of ensuring that the story has met all its requirements. An acceptance criteria is essentially a list of requirements or preset scenarios that a user story has to satisfy in order to have reached fruition. It also helps to set a common base by establishing a defined set of requirements which are communicated to all team members to provide them with a unified vision of the goal of the application.

Conclusion

Writing a user story is a fantastic way of defining the user journey by articulating the functionalities of an application. This not only helps developers to build great products that provide a superior experience to users but it plays a huge role in planning out the development process in the most time and cost effective way possible. Being a vital part of the development process, user stories can also help to make a venture successful by giving a clear picture of what is being created which can help drive major business decisions.