In agile we talk a lot about user stories but we don’t spend enough time telling the stories of our users.
User stories are commonly known as the way we prioritise and deliver work in agile teams.
How we use ‘stories’ determines if user-centred design is really a part of our agile delivery. They’re a good indicator of whether we’re thinking about user needs and what it would really be like to use the product or service we’re building.
I’ve come to the conclusion that whenever I’ve worked in agile teams we haven’t really told the story of our users.
At best we’ve used individual stories to prioritise features to help us meet user needs. At worst we’ve lost sight of the real user story.
For the love of story telling
Jeff’s approach is story telling. This is based on how you use stories rather than what’s written on each user story card:
Stories in agile development get their name from how they should be used, not what you write down.
The important thing is how we tell the user story.
The point is stories have a start and end. They’re a narrative. They eventually reach a conclusion or an outcome. Each individual ‘story’ should be part of this narrative.
Make sure you can tell the story of how users will use your product or service. Tell the story of what they will need to do at every step of this journey.
User story mapping is not unlike user journey mapping. Sometimes this is known as customer journey mapping.
Ben Holliday is an experienced designer, leader, writer and speaker. This is his blog (started in 2005). You can follow all of Ben's blog posts by subscribing to the RSS feed, or follow him on Twitter for more regular updates.