fbpx
INNOVATION

User stories, now agile

We are going to talk about creating user stories. User stories aren’t Agile in and of themselves, but they can be used to help us follow Agile principles. For example, here are three Agile principles that we should keep in mind If working software is the primary measure of progress, we need to make sure...

Last updated: 21 Oct 2021 - 6 mins read

Robin Creative Director

Love stories in red neon

CONTENTS

We are going to talk about creating user stories. User stories aren’t Agile in and of themselves, but they can be used to help us follow Agile principles.

For example, here are three Agile principles that we should keep in mind

  • Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  • Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  • Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential.

If working software is the primary measure of progress, we need to make sure we organize and track our work in a way that supports this goal.

Project manager - Flatline Agency

We need to make sure that our work is organized and chunked into units that represent value to the customer and we need a way to sort out what is extremely valuable from what is less important. Most teams find that the best way to achieve these things is to visualize their work so it is easy to see what has been done, what is being done, and what is yet to be done.

Visualize it

Visualizing the state of various pieces of work can be done in software or even on a wall with sticky notes, but we want to concentrate just on how to represent the units of work. A good approach is to represent the work through simple stories that describe what the user's world must look like in order to mark a story as complete. Here are some example stories using a typical story template.

  • As a registered user I want to change my password So I can keep my account secure As a website visitor I want to subscribe to the mailing list for a product So I can get product updates through email 
  • As an admin user I want to disable a user So I can prevent unauthorized logins by past employees 
  • As a mobile app user, I want to save all my data to the cloud So I can access it from another device 

There isn’t anything magical about this particular format for stories. The examples we’ve just seen cover who, what, and why. Having a template is a good way to make sure you capture enough information to represent the idea of what the user needs without getting bogged down in the implementation details.

Increasing development efficiency

When our development efforts are driven by stories that represent our understanding of user needs, it supports our principles and fosters good development practices. Stories that are written in ways that violate our principles will hinder good development practices.

Anything we can do to increase the quality of our stories will make the rest of our development process more efficient. One time we were working with a team that was just starting to organize their work like this and we were using a template similar to the one we’ve just seen. One of the users had missed the initial meeting where we explained what we were trying to do. He was a bit confused and asked why he kept seeing all these short pieces of poetry about the software. Evidently, he thought we were writing some strange form of haiku.

Good user stories start off as fiction. The setting is the world in which the user interacts with the software. The story is written from the user’s point of view and talks about things from the perspective of the user.

User perspective

The user perspective is very important because our principles say that we are going to define our progress based on giving the user the ability to do something valuable with the software that they were not able to do before. If we are working on stories that aren’t creating business value for the customer, we are doing work that we’ve explicitly said isn’t going to count as progress.

So how do we handle all the work we need to do that the user can’t see? How do we handle stories about the developer’s world? How do we handle stories like this? We want a database with all the tables to model the data So we can store information the application needs. This is a bad story because it violates our principles for software development. Notice I said the story is bad, not the idea of having a database to store data.

The database story

We definitely need a database, but if we create this story, almost all of the application depends on it being done first.

We could complete this story and have no functionality.

L. Kamman - Developer Flatine Agency

We can show our users nothing they can actually use as working software, but this would violate our principles. Further, the information we need to acquire to complete this story will only be known when we figure out how we are going to build other parts of the system. So in effect, a story like this is both a prerequisite for and a dependency of every other story. When you have two things that both depend on the other being done first, you have a recipe for deadlock.

If you’ve ever worked on a story like this, you may have experienced a long period of time where the user is asking how things are going and the development team is saying, “Well we have a bunch of setup work to do first before we can start working on the actual application.” There is another way.

It seems inefficient for the developer

If you write your stories from the user perspective you can build just the parts you need in order to create some value for the user. This likely will mean building some of the databases, but only the pieces you need as you need them to complete each story. It may seem counterintuitive for developers to build software from the users' perspective because such an approach means you may have to rework some of the things you’ve done in the past as future stories become clear.

However, software projects that fail usually do so because they weren’t focused on delivering actual usable business value to the user on a regular basis and forget about uat testing. Building the application the way the user thinks about value minimizes this risk. If you are following the other Agile principles, the cost of some rework is trivial compared to the benefits it provides in delivering business value sooner rather than later.

SIGN UP FOR THE NEWSLETTER

    By signing up you agree with our privacy policy

    GET IN TOUCH

    To speak with us, call (+31) 613 326 179, send us an email, or reach out to us by chat or What’s App.

    THINKING

    Shopify Summer Editions ’23 – our favourites

    Imagine my Business – Imagine my Store – Imagine my Future This is the hook, Shopify introduces us to the Summer Editions ’23. One of the most powerful updates until now. There have been some changes in the digital world, which automatically affect the eCommerce industry – bringing a lot new opportunities to the field. Personalisation...

    Shopify’s one-page checkout

    By now, we’ve all heard of the Shopify Editions | Winter ’23 and the amazing upgrades that the eCommerce platform will be offering soon.  Shopify is one of the biggest players in the industry, holding a substantial market share in the United States and accounting for over $444 billion in global economic activity. The new...

    B2B with Shopify: Unlocking the Power of Business-to-Business Commerce

    In today’s digital age, eCommerce has revolutionised the way businesses operate and connect with their customers. Shopify, one of the leading eCommerce platforms, not only caters to direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses but also provides robust features, which Shopify Plus merchants can utilise for business-to-business (B2B) transactions. This article explores the world of B2B on Shopify, its...

    Shopify Markets Pro: The Ultimate Solution for International eCommerce Businesses

    Are you looking to expand your eCommerce business and take over the international market? Yet the complexities of international transactions made you reconsider your decision? Shopify Markets Pro delivers an all-in-one solution that simplifies the process of selling globally. We’ll be showing you all the things you need to know about the new toolkit of...

    The logo of Klaviyo One, a comprehensive customer data platform (CDP) that revolutionises business growth and customer engagement.

    What is Klaviyo One?

    Klaviyo One is the all-in-one platform to grow your business. Klaviyo has always been a powerful email marketing tool, but with the release of Klaviyo One, they are now a complete customer data platform (CDP). This means that you can now manage all of your customer data in one place, and use it to drive...

    Various equipment such as camera are put on the white background

    Omnichannel versus Multichannel

    Omnichannel and multi-channel: what’s the difference? We’re going to be elaborating on the differences between omnichannel and multi-channel. So let’s jump straight into it! So let’s start off with a few definitions. The defintions First of all, when we speak about channels what we mean is a medium through which a brand is able to...

    Title of the blog: WooCommerce migration: A step-by-step guide

    WooCommerce migration: A step-by-step guide on how to navigate your migration

    In the dynamic world of eCommerce, staying ahead means not just keeping pace with technology but leveraging it to your advantage. At Flatline Agency, we’ve observed a significant trend where businesses are transitioning their digital storefronts to platforms that offer more agility, scalability, and user engagement.  Introduction WooCommerce is favoured by many for its seamless...

    Season 2/2: Mastering Framer’s most useful features in 5 minutes

    Learn how to create your new intuitive, and beautiful experiences with Framer Welcome back to our Framer blog series. In our previous blog post, we started discovering how Framer can transform the process of designing, sharing, and publishing websites and prototypes without the need for coding knowledge. Framer is a comprehensive design tool tailor-made for...

    Shopware to Shopify: The best eCommerce tool in 2024

    Switching from Shopware to Shopify should be your next step, but why? Furthermore, how? We’re here to answer all these questions, so don’t worry. Introduction At Flatline, we have noticed a shift in businesses in the digital marketplace. More companies are transitioning from Shopware to Shopify to unlock new growth opportunities and enhance their digital...

    Season 2/1: Framer’s what, how, and why

    Let’s learn how to design, share, and publish your new website faster than ever with no code. At Flatline, we’re excited to announce that we will release a new blog series. This, as the title suggests, will cover how to use Framer to the best of its ability. Our first release will explain “what” Framer...

    From Lightspeed to Shopify: Optimising your migration in 2024

    Migrating from Lightspeed to Shopify is absolutely worth it, but why? And how? Don’t worry, all of these questions will be answered here. Lightspeed and Shopify Identification Lightspeed is a cloud-based commerce platform tailored for retail, hospitality, and golf businesses. It provides a comprehensive set of tools, including point-of-sale (POS) systems, inventory management, and customer...

    ChatGPT 3.5 vs ChatGPT 4: A direct comparison

    The staggering differences between ChatGPT 3.5 and ChatGPT 4, side-by-side. Welcome to our newest blog. Today we’ll be delving into the details of 2 of the most popular AI tools in the world. ChatGPT 3.5 and ChatGPT 4. As some of you may already know, Chat ChatGPT is the paid subscription provided by OpenAI, we’re...

    A-clear-step-by-step-guide-for-your-HubSpot-settings-by-Flatline-Agency-blog-post-picture.png

    HubSpot settings: Your clear guide for 2024

    A complete guide to answer all of your questions on how to set up your HubSpot Settings. Welcome to our guide on your HubSpot settings navigation. If you’re new to HubSpot and not sure how or where to start, don’t worry. This guide, along with our complementary videos, will help you through each step to...

    Season 1/4 – Shopify B2B apps

    Shopify B2B apps – the Flatline go-to’s Shopify has brought its B2B game to the next level. There are a lot of opportunities to take from the eCommerce platform and also a lot of apps to be used. We’ll introduce you to the B2B basics of Shopify and our Go to apps, for Shopify Plus...

    Season 1/3 – Shopify multistores

    Shopify multistores – the innovation of merging your online business Shopify has emerged as a beacon for retailers looking to expand their digital footprint. With the introduction of Shopify multistores, businesses now have the capability to manage multiple storefronts under a single umbrella, a feature that has revolutionised the way brands approach online selling. This...

    Season 1/2 – Shopify email setup

    Let us show you how to set up your Shopify email – store owner email and sender email! Email is more than a communication tool for your customers, it’s a real marketing tool that can be used in so many ways. 2024 is definitely an opportunity for you to step up your mail game with...

    This site is registered on wpml.org as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.