What is a User Story
A User Story is an Agile software development planning artifact - a simplified, natural language description that captures what the software needs to do, providing a quick sense of what is required without bogging down the team in detail until it's time to build the feature.
User Stories Are Hard
Sounds easy, but hard to get right
Describe who wants it, what they want, and why. A good user story anchors team collaboration and clearly describes expectations.
Don't make it harder
Inconsistent formatting makes it worse. These add up to frustration, confusion and actual hard costs on products and projects you're asking your team to deliver.
✕ hard to scan
✕ Time wasting
✕ Longer meetings
✕ Always fixing
“User stories were always a mess. I don’t know why we didn’t think of this before!”
- David, Agile Business Analyst, iView
Make User Stories Better
✓ Stop deciphering format, symbols, and words.
✓ Stop wasting time.
✓ Provide your team with absolute clarity.
✓ Focus on content grooming.
✓ Higher quality user stories.
✓ Apply to any tool or task tracker.
Implement all of the above improvements simply by formatting user stories better! Sounds easy, and it is. You can align everyone on your team with how to format user stories, which makes a big difference. But we've done this for 15 years and refined it based on feedback from scores of teams and hundreds of people. Distilling down 15+ years of refinement to these very explicit rules and constraints as a User Story Style Guide.
“So simple, yet saves so many micro-interruptions!”
- Sally, Scrum Master, BBC
User Story Style Guide
The User Story Style Guide is a simple, short PDF with 3 pages:
+ User Story Schema defines the text pattern and fields.
+ User Story Format defines the formatting.
+ Example User Story implements the schema and format
The easiest significant improvement you can make.
It does not cost much, but it converts to a very high return in the format quality of your user stories.
“You can take courses and read books, but sometimes these simple hacks are worth more!”
- Martin, Product Owner, Bank of America