Question of the Week: How many people should be involved in writing user stories?

I’m in a large project that’s writing user stories now. We have the product owner, the business analyst, and 3 senior developers (including myself) holding round-table discussions on each story. It’s actually turning into long, slow product redefinition. We would move faster if fewer people were involved in writing the stories and the entire team convened to assign function points and challenge the handful of stories which pose some difficulty. But is there a good reason to keep the round-table format?

Any and everybody can and should be involved in writing stories: Product Owner(s), Scrum Master(s), Team, Stakeholders. The person writing the story should have a discussion with the PO to explain why that story is important.

The technique that limits the amount of churn is that the Product Owner should be the person with “Content Authority” over the final say in terms of priority.

  • Why are you holding round table discussions on each story?
  • How many stories are you finishing per sprint (if you are doing sprints)?
  • Do you have a product owner (or person with the final say on prioritization)?
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