User Stories Examples and Template

The team’s velocity for an iteration is equal to the sum of the points for all the completed stories that met their definition of done (DoD). As the team works together over time, their average velocity (completed story points per iteration) becomes reliable and predictable. Predictable velocity assists with planning and helps limit Work in Process (WIP), as teams don’t take on more stories than their historical velocity would allow.

They help provide a user-focused framework for daily work — which drives collaboration, creativity, and a better product overall. There’s a pattern that user stories follow, and it generally isn’t optional. Now there’s no law out there saying you can’t switch it up a bit to make it match your needs, but they’re written this way because it works best. We’ve put our thinking caps on and put together some sample user stories to provide a clearer image of what you’ll be working towards. Notes about what the story must do in order for the product owner to accept it as complete. In all three examples, you can see how important it is to pose software updates from the perspective of the end user.

How to work with user stories?

We’ve already explained that teams often add more details to user stories as they prioritize them in the backlog. Also, when the team starts estimating specific user stories, it might turn out that some of them are too big – and have to be broken down into smaller ones. That means outlining tasks and subtasks and assigning them to the right people. Product teams choose to break development work into user stories instead of product features or product requirements for several reasons. In many contexts, user stories are used and also summarized in groups for ontological, semantic and organizational reasons. Initiative is also referred to as Program in certain scaled agile frameworks.

definition of user story

As a power user, I want to automate my daily tasks so that I can focus on getting the work done more efficiently. For user-sourced ideas or feedback, those ideas (or complaints) can be submitted, turned into user stories, and addressed in order of importance. This allows you to fix, improve and change things before those issues go straight to Twitter which can end rather messily. As a developer, it gives you a chance to provide those stakeholders with what they want, too. This, of course, is great for not wasting time, money, and resources guessing or designing what you thought they wanted.

1.1 Posting Stories

Acceptance criteria are the specific and measurable requirements that a user story must satisfy to be accepted by the customer or user. They define the scope, functionality, quality, and performance of a user story, and provide a common understanding of what done means for the development team and the stakeholders. Acceptance criteria also serve as the basis for testing and validation, as they describe the expected outcomes and behaviors of a user story.

The cards rarely give details on the requirement but define the intent and serve as an invitation to conversation. Experience is the best way to increase user story understanding and improve definition of user story your user story writing skills. To gain valuable experience, it’s essential to know the foundation of what user stories are and what characteristics and elements they should contain.

Managing User Stories

In other words, they may be overly specifying user design and functional implementations instead of sharing the target user experience and benefits. For more complex applications, defining different user personas that illustrate needs, values, and usage patterns of different user types is an important discipline and can enhance story writing. In “10 tips for writing good user stories,” Roman Pichler suggests that “the persona goals help you discover the right stories. The very nature of user stories is cooperative (remember the conversation part?), so all stakeholders are expected to participate in their development. It’s a common case for a client to come up with ideas on the value the product should bring to the end user.

Conversations also help uncover gaps in user scenarios and NFRs. Most popular project management tools like Jira and Trello include user-story-related functionality, so if you use one of those to organize your activities, they work just fine. Even though there are fans of the #NoEstimates movement (which emerged because someone was sick of always blowing the deadlines), most teams still make estimations. And one of the popular approaches involves using story points to measure the amount of effort required to complete one user story. And that’s what makes user stories so crucial since teams basically organize their project activities around them.

Start with the user in mind

The purpose is to illustrate the product’s value to the end-user in a simple, easy-to-understand little bundle. The purpose here is to define the value of your software feature related to big-picture goals. Describe how the end user will use your software feature and why. This is critical so your team understands why the target audience would use your feature in the first place. There may be multiple personas in a given user story depending on the size of the target audience.

  • If you have several different users in mind, you might want to break this into more than one user story.
  • A team’s velocity is far more affected by changing team size and technical context than by productivity variations.
  • This phase aims to decide whether the project is viable from a business and technical perspective.
  • If user has a new requirement, either it is about a new feature, or it is an enhancement of the finished user story, the team would create a new user story for the next iteration.
  • All specialists regardless of their qualifications can help in the creation of user stories.
  • They define the scope, functionality, quality, and performance of a user story, and provide a common understanding of what done means for the development team and the stakeholders.
  • However, when you read it you may feel it sounds a little bit odd.

Vacations, training, and other events can make team members unavailable to contribute to an iteration’s goals for some portion of the iteration. This decreases the maximum potential velocity for that team for that iteration. For example, a team that averages 40 points delivered per iteration would adjust their maximum velocity down to 36 if a team member is on vacation for one week.

2.1 Customer centric

The sum of these components should provide functional value to your users (except core teams’ stories, where they would serve other internal teams). The definition of done is the set of criteria that needs to be fulfilled for your user story to be considered complete. Define the specific acceptance criteria and use it as a checklist.

definition of user story

Invest stands for “independent, negotiable, valuable, estimable, small, and testable,” which make a good checklist for agile story writers. “An agile leader’s guide to writing user stories” is one article that explains how to apply invest principles. The conversations should also include the Scrum Team, ideally in the form of grooming sessions. When breaking projects down into an Agile work structure, teams will start by exploring the customer perspective. In Agile methodology, it is common practice to include user feedback in the development process.


Therefore, investing in good user stories, albeit at the last responsible moment, is a worthy effort for the team. Bill Wake coined the acronym INVEST [1] to describe the attributes of a good user story. In Agile, the entire team creates a shared understanding of what to build to reduce rework and increase throughput. Teams collaborate using Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) to define detailed acceptance tests that definitively describe each story. User stories don’t tell developers how to build the feature (which can be a problem for inexperienced engineers). Instead, the team has to get creative, develop a shared vision, and write use cases and acceptance criteria that will serve as precise guidelines.