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The User Story – Did you capture all your stakeholder requirements?

So you have a lot of user stories in the usual format (two variations on the theme below):

  • As a user <who I am> I want <my requirement> so that <benefit>
  • As a user <who I am> I want to do <action> in order to <goal>

Now you may jump to the conclusion that your customer is always the user but is that always true? What if we have an Application Support Manager in the organisation who needs some functionality along the lines of this story:

  • As an Application Support Manager I want a report showing how often the system goes down so that I can analyse the results and ensure we meet a service level of 10 minutes downtime per month

This is all very well but now we have a problem. How is the product owner going to see any business value in this? To top things off it’s very unlikely that they would come up with this story in the first place! So get your stakeholders involved in writing the stories with the product owner as well:

  • As a stakeholder <who I am> I want <my requirement> so that <benefit>

To ensure that this work actually gets done you can include the stakeholders in the sprint planning or product backlog grooming where they can negotiate the value with the product owner. You can also use your Minimum Marketable Featureset (MMF) to highlight those stakeholder stories that MUST go live for a release to be successful.

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