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Writing Quality User Stories

There is no silver bullet for writing good user stories, but incorporating best practices will increase the overall quality of the stories your teams come up with. Ensure that writing these stories is a collaborative process. Empathizing with your user base will be easier for teams than individuals, who only bring a single perspective to the process. Stories should be as concise as possible. Using a simple template for stories will help developers keep them from becoming overly verbose or too complex. It is also important that these user stories remain visible and accessible to the team at all times, so they can remember the goals they’re working towards.

There are pitfalls for teams to avoid as well. Often, user stories aren’t refined until they’re testable, which keeps them from being resolved. Ensure that all stories your teams work on meet certain criteria before they’re released. Remember that user stories can’t define all possible requirements, and ensure that teams don’t get locked into thinking about their product solely in those terms. It is also important for executives and product managers to ensure that the real-world needs of the targeted users are being met in the stories. Participation by all stakeholders in product development can be the difference between the success and failure of that product, and it is the job of management to ensure that participation takes place.

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