10 March 2011

User Story Template

Due to popular demand I have aggregated some information on User Stories and created a simple template.  If you feel this would be useful to someone please send them the link.  If you have feedback, please leave a comment.
This template is provided in three parts.
  • Part 1 is an introduction to the User Story Template and some guidelines.
  • Part 2 is a Story Card layout for you to save/print and use on your project
  • Part 3 is a list of useful references and links that you should read to help maximize your value from this technique.
You can also sign up to one of my online User Story training courses. (Occasionally offered for free here.)

Part 1; About User Stories
User Stories are supporting artifacts for requirements. User stories are not expected to be a full and complete set of requirements. They are an anchor for a conversation. As a person who is creating and delivering requirements to a development team you may have further details written down, models created and rules listed. These are also useful and should be, like User Stories, used as supporting tools in a conversation with your developers.

Three key aspects of a user story are:
  • The “user” of the solution
  • The outcome you envisage from an interaction with the system, and
  • The value this interaction/outcome is trying to yield.

User stories come in different sizes and shapes and are expected to be prioritised in order, based on value. (Value includes mitigating risk, so hard, but low reward stories may be addressed early.) Typically User Stories are categorized into three types;
  • Epic
  • Theme (sometimes called Feature)
  • Story
Each of these labels represents a different class of granularity. Epics are huge and suited to things off in the distance. Themes are things generally being worked on now or in the near future. Stories are what you take to the sprint. Smaller classes of requirement fit into the larger ones. Think of Russian dolls. You can read more on these three classes of story elsewhere.

Part 2: Template

Front of card
  • Story [Short Name] 
  • As a [role] 
  • I want [something]
  • So that [benefit]
  • Size ____
  • Priority ____
Back of card
  • Acceptance Criteria [Short Name]
  • Given [Context]
  • When [Event 1] 
    • [Event 2] [Etc.]
  • Then [Outcome] 
    • [Outcome 2] [Etc.]

Part 3: Further reading
Below are some excellent web resources to help you learn more;
You might also want to read something a little more in depth.  Try the book "User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development" by Mike Cohn.

Did you find this template useful? Does it need improving? Let me know.