Writing Better User Stories

Luke Pivac
Mar 29, 2018 · 2 min read

In modern day Agile software development where many organisations are using wikis and issue tracking systems such as Atlassian’s Jira, it is important for agile leaders to specify detailed and descriptive user stories.

This article highlights some tips to follow to help you write better user stories in Jira. The aim is to provide some uniformity to ensure that your requirements are easily understood first time.

Photo by Hugo Rocha on Unsplash

This kind of user story can be used for writing new function features and improvements when doing a new software project in a Scrum board.

Writing a good Heading

When creating a new user story in Jira, we recommend using the following recipe in the header of the story:

As a < type of user >, I want < some goal > so that < some reason >

Examples

  • As a user, I can backup my entire hard drive.
  • As a power user, I can specify files or folders to backup based on file size, date created and date modified.
  • As a user, I can indicate folders not to backup so that my backup drive isn’t filled up with things I don’t need saved.

The following table provides an example of how far you can take it. This could help focus your planning.

Descriptions

This is where you add as much detail as possible, sometimes it is best to follow a prescriptive heading formula to help ensure you have not missed anything (when creating a user story in Jira), such as:

Acceptance Criteria

  • I know this is true when/complete….

Assumptions

  • We assume the following about this user story…

Risks

  • List any known or potential risks about this user story — if applicable

Any other considerations

  • These can be notes, actions and other nice to knows. It helps provide a picture for the developer doing the work to get a good understanding of the user story and project.

Using this method helps reduce meetings and ambiguity because the right information is being captured from the beginning. Other benefits include enhanced communication, flow of information is improved, and it is easier to estimate development effort. It also requires less maintenance and enables you to have closer contact with your customers.

Agile It!

The ‘Agile Auckland’ blog — a round-up of the latest tips, tricks, and techniques from around the web! Plus other insightful articles from the Agile Auckland committee.

Luke Pivac

Written by

Agile Auckland Marketing Lead | Agile Project Manager | Scrum Master | Editor for Agile It! | Blogger: lukepivac.com

Agile It!

Agile It!

The ‘Agile Auckland’ blog — a round-up of the latest tips, tricks, and techniques from around the web! Plus other insightful articles from the Agile Auckland committee.

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