User stories are one of the innovative techniques of agile development, creating a way to see through a potential user’s eyes and better understand their requirements. User experience is always one of the most critical aspects of project development. Through better user stories, you can create products that more accurately deliver what a user truly needs.
1. Keep the Story Simple
Your users don’t need a complicated background filled with motivations. The shorter and briefer your stories, the easier it will be to isolate your product requirements. Your user stories should follow an easy template: who the user is, what the user wants to do, and why they want to do that. This tells you some important things about your project: your user’s desired actions in addition to their end goals. But that doesn’t mean that the stories should be generic. Each story should still have a unique aspect of characteristic that separates it from the others, such as a unique goal that the user might have.
2. Focus on INVEST
Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimate-able, Small, and Testable. INVEST provides a general guideline for developing your user stories. Your user stories should function independently from each other, each a concise piece of data. They should be negotiable and flexible, so that your team can choose what is relevant. They should be able to be used for planning, they should be small and concise (as noted), and they should be able to be tested.
3. Create Users from Personas
You undoubtedly already have buyer personas for your project. Go one step further and create your user stories directly from these buyer personas. This will create a more consistent product throughout your project management, reducing any disconnect between your sales perspectives and your technology.
4. Begin Large and Drill Down
When attempting to create a user story, it’s very easy to get bogged down in detail. Create a sketch of a larger story and then slowly drill down to something more simple. This will take the burden off of you to try to nail down a simple, concise story immediately. Further, it will give you additional details that you can add into your simplified stories that will make them unique and important. The goal of creating a story is to provide just enough detail, and this sometimes begins with adding in too much.
5. Make Your Stories Visible
To truly inspire agile development, the best thing you can do is make your user stories visible. This will keep them at the forefront of the minds of everyone working on the project. A board is the perfect way to post user stories when you come up with them. These stories can then be readily reviewed by developers to ensure that everything is moving in the direction that it should be. Collaborative tools can be used to further distribute and share your stories to other team members.
Once you learn to write better user stories, you can really drill down to the requirements of your projects, providing a better than ever user experience. Are you a software developer or agile project developer looking for your next challenge? Contact Software Specialists today or review our comprehensive job listings to find a position that’s right for you.