How to Create a User Story

User stories are simple to understand yet take a little time and practice to master.  So today, I am going to show you how to create a user story.

A user story is a way to describe WHO wants WHAT and WHY.  As opposed to representing all the facts round this required functionality, its primary purpose it to serve as a conversation starter so that the people who will be implementing the functionality understand the full context.

A user story is a convenient format for expressing the desired business value for a feature told from the perspective of the person who wants the feature, usually a user.

In scrum, user stories are one of the best and most popular form of creating a shared understanding of what the user of a system wants to accomplish

The user story consists of 3 parts

  • Card
  • Conversation
  • Confirmation

Part 1:  The Card

The “card” is a high level description of what the user wants, usually taking the form of “As a <type of user> I want <some functionality> so that I can <achieve some kind of goal>” or the form I prefer “<type of user> wants <functionality> so <reason>”

Part 2:  The Conversation

Since a user story is the promise of a future conversation, the “conversation” part of the user story is just that; a conversation around what the user wants and the goals the user wants to achieve.
The purpose of this conversation is to create a shared understanding of the expected outcome of implementing the story.

Part 3:  The Confirmation

The “confirmation” is the additional detail captured during the “confirmation” that confirms the details, expected outcomes, acceptance criteria, or anything else that was discussed and agreed upon during the conversation

Story Details and Acceptance Criteria

A user story is not complete without acceptance criteria.  Acceptance criteria provide boundaries around the story so we know what specific items we can verify against to ensure the story is done.  Acceptance criteria also provide a way to validate shared understanding exists between the requester of the story and the implementer of the story.

Example of a User Story with Conversation Details and Acceptance Criteria

Description:  System administrator wants to select folders to be backed up so the backup system does not save un-needed files

Conversation Details
– User should be able to select any folder in the system
– If there is a backup in progress, folder selection is locked
– Folder selection should be under “settings”
– Folder selection should be the standard windows directory tree view
– A folder that has been previously backed up then deselected will be purged from the backup system

Acceptance Criteria
– Verify the user can select/deselect folders at will
– Verify the folder selection is locked when there is a backup in progress
– Verify the folder selection window is the standard windows directory tree view with checkboxes
– Verify the unselected folders do not backup on the server


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