12 basic pointers to write a good user story!

What make a good user story

One of the major challenges we have encountered during agile transformation journeys at our clients is to solve how to ensure that Product Owners write good user stories! Many POs, in our experience, dilute the essence of user stories by obsessing on the technicalities and overlooking user engagement and focus. POs should take the user-centric approach to story writing, engaging in discussions and dialogue with clients, development teams, and other stakeholders but it seldom happens.


Also, user stories are neither shorter versions of Business requirement documents( BRD) nor a different form of use cases. Traditional project management approaches needed detailed, humongous documentation written upfront – primarily necessitated by freezing of requirements in the analyses phase. However, BRDs don’t have a place in agile ways of working, where the only constant is “change”.


Listing 12 basic and useful pointers to be cognizant of while writing good user stories below. Try using these as your guiding principles for writing user stories, we think they would help you write better user stories, which will be immensely useful during agile estimation and planning in particular and in realizing overall agility in general.


  1. Conversations between technical and business leads should be balanced. Focus on having conversations to understand details, rather than merely capturing details
  2. Avoid technical jargon in user stories
  3. Acceptance tests should be captured to check the completeness of stories
  4. User stories should be small enough to be coded and developed
  5. User stories are not contractual obligations – try and keep them negotiable
  6. User stories should depict customer valued functionality
  7. User stories written should be independent of each other
  8. User stories should be based on user roles or personas
  9. Capture user stories by brainstorming users with open-ended questions
  10. Create user goals as a starting point to generate user stories
  11. Avoid passing the responsibility of writing user stories to the developers
  12. Depict the stories in a visual format in terms of wireframes or design visuals
    A basic template that is widely used to frame good user stories goes like this…
    “ As a ( Persona or user) I want to ( user demand) so that ( Purpose to be fulfilled)

We would be glad to hear your views & feedback on the above pointers.
Try using these simple 12 pointers next time during your story writing sessions and let us know your experience at [email protected]


Sudha Madhuri
Agile Consultant, Benzne

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