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Agile User Stories

How Detailed Should Tasks Be in a User Story?

This is a guest blog post by Joe Woods from VersionOne… When I first started using agile project management, my stories didn’t have enough detail. In my office we use Agile to manage our marketing department with 2 week iterations. Even from the beginning, I could see the value of bite size goals that you could accomplish in a short

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Independent Interpretation

Many organizations segregate their programmers and testers in order to achieve independent validation of requirements.  If the system is tested according to an independent interpretation of the requirements than used for implementation, then errors in those interpretations may be detected. This course of action is obviously prudent when the requirements are handed down to the […]

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A Sample Format for a Spreadsheet-Based Product Backlog

I want to show a real easy way to put user stories in a spreadsheet-based product backlog. I wrote this after seeing someone tweet a screen capture of a product backlog I made 9 years ago and thought to myself, “Yikes, that’s out of date for how I do it today…” As you probably know […]

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Agile User Stories, Themes, Epics, Features – What’s The Difference?

A recent comment on one of my blog posts asked about the difference between agile user stories, themes, epics, and features, and about the relationship, or hierarchy, between these terms? Admittedly it is a bit confusing, as these phrases are often used quite interchangeably (at least by me). Here’s my take on what the difference is… A user story may

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Themes in Agile Software Development

Agile software development teams often use User Stories as a simple and concise way to express user requirements. Ideally these User Stories are broken down as small as possible, whilst also trying to minimise dependencies. Naturally, though, as you break User Stories down smaller, they become increasingly inter-dependent. Like most things in software development, it’s a balancing act. Break the

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User Stories versus Use Cases

Scott Sehlhorst from Tyner Blain is one of my favourite bloggers. He’s written an excellent post about User Stories versus Use Cases. When I first used Use Cases, I loved them… I loved the fact they gave such a clear description of a feature, and the fact that each Use Case could stand alone. They made it really easy to

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Burndown User Stories, Rather Than Tasks

I was very interested to read this blog post from Ron Jeffries about burning down user stories rather than tasks. Excuse the pun, but this is a hot topic for me at the moment 🙂 If it’s possible to avoid the time spent in Sprint Planning, breaking user stories into tasks and estimating them in hours, this would reduce the

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Role Storm

Joe Ocampo (‘AgileJoe’) has recently written about a concept he calls ‘Role Storming‘… I’m not sure I like the name – sounds a bit buzzwordy – but I think the concept is really great! When you first start a project, you need to build out the initial Product Backlog. Role Storming would be a great way to start, ensuring the

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Putting the *Analyst* into Test Analyst

For years, I’ve given Software Testers in my teams the official job title of Test Analyst, or something along those lines. Yet (informally) I’ve always referred to them as Testers. Only in more recent years – and especially since adopting Agile Software Development and User Stories – have I really discovered how to put the *Analyst* into Test Analyst. I’ve

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Writing Good User Stories

Over the last few weeks, I’ve written alot about writing good User Stories – you can see them all here: User Stories. User Stories are a simple way of capturing user requirements throughout a project – an alternative to writing lengthy requirements specifications all up-front. As a guide for people writing User Stories, they can follow this basic construct: As

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