Saturday, May 13, 2006

Developing Stories

Based on experiences on my current project, I felt I had something to say about how to write stories. A story should be short. A story should have a clear purpose that can be demo'd to a user on its own. If two aspects of the story can demo'd separately, then there is a good chance they should each be defined as a separate story. One should not throw in unrelated bits and pieces into a story - "Oh and while you're at it, do this here." I was spending some time thinking about how to clearly justify and explain these opinions of mine. Luckily, now I don't really have to: Brian Marick seems to have mostly done the job for me: http://www.exampler.com/writing/product-director.pdf

By the way, one idea that was introduced on my current project is excellent, and I'm not sure it's a standard agile practice. If not, it should be: The Demo. Each story should be demo'd briefly to the user when it has been completed. This practice insures that nothing significant is missing or misunderstood and tightens the feedback loop. The demo should be brief, no more than 5 or 10 minutes, and it should not include too many people - we had some problems with that in the beginning. Being able to demo a story to the user when it's been completed has proven to be both useful and simply satisfying for all concerned.

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