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Agile : How to Write User Stories

The Agile methodology focuses on placing the end-users at the forefront. User Stories are an informal way of describing the value of software from the perspective of the end-user. This helps in agile software development as the project management team can know why they are creating the software and how it will provide value to the users of the software.

User Stories are an integral part of the agile approach which is largely user-centric. The agile approach emphasizes value addition rather than just designing and creating products. Thus, writing user stories can not only benefit the project management teams but can also help the organization in delivering products and services that meet the requirements of the end-users.

How to Write User Stories
How to Write Agile User Stories

What are Agile User Stories?

User Stories are an informal description of a software feature described by the users in a written form and a vital part of the agile framework. The main objective of User Stories is to provide feedback to the agile software development team. These users can be internal users or customers placed within the organization. These are just a few sentences that give a general explanation of the outcome of the product. User Stories do not have to be elaborate or described in paragraphs. Epic User Stories are those that are comprehensive and thoroughly describe the software’s capabilities.

They fit in the agile framework easily just like Scrum and Kanban. For example, in Scrum, these can be added into sprints and burned down over the period of the sprint. And, in Kanban, these can be pulled into their backlog and run through their workflow. User Stories help Scrum teams to improve sprint planning and Kanban teams to manage the work-in-progress which will improve the outcome.

What is the need for Agile User Stories?

User Stories are very important in the agile framework. They give valuable information associated with small tasks that form a part of the bigger tasks or the project itself. Here are some of the reasons why User Stories are needed:

  • They give importance to the feedback from the end-user.
  • They promote collaboration among the agile software development teams.
  • They help in finding creative solutions to problems faced by the users.
  • They allow the creation of the end products and services that meets the requirements of all stakeholders.

How to write User Stories in Agile?

To write good User Stories in Agile, there are some elements that are common. Here are some of the elements that must be included in all User Stories in the form of a User Stories Template:

  • The “Who?”: It must begin with the introduction of the users.
  • The “What?”: It should describe the function of the products for the users.
  • The “Why?”: It must describe the value the products have provided to the users.
  • Discussion, acceptance criteria, and the implementation strategy.

Steps for writing good User Stories in Agile:

  • Step 1 – The first step in writing a good agile user story is to think about the “Who?” question. It will help project teams know who their end users are and what their needs are.
  • Step 2 – Next, define the “What?” question which should describe in a few sentences the functions or actions that each user expects from the product. It will also highlight how each user interacts with the product.
  • Step 3 – The last piece of the user stories template describes the “Why?” question that describes in a few sentences the value the product has brought to the user. This is the most important part of the user story development and project teams must aim to meet this requirement.
  • Step 4 – It involves discussion of the user stories, the acceptance criteria of the user stories whether a user story is acceptable or not, and the implementation strategy of the feedback provided through the user story.

Who writes User Stories?

The Product Backlog is the responsibility of the Product Owner. Thus, it is the responsibility of the product owner to ensure that an agile product backlog of user stories exists. The Product Owner can assign the task of writing them to the team members.


User Stories can be created by product owners and the agile product development teams at the start of the project. Later, more details and functionality can be added to help project teams meet the primary objective of the organization that is to meet the requirements of the stakeholders involved with the project. Thus, creating good User Stories is vital for agile product development and assists project teams to meet their end goal. Learn about the importance of good user stories and how to write them through our industry-recognized PMI-ACP certification training course. Earning the PMI-ACP Certification will help project managers and product owners to validate their knowledge in agile product development and create good user stories that will help organizations increase their overall productivity.

Posted in Agile

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