Dan Schnau

INVEST in Good User Stories

Software isn't always complicated.

But when you work on big, complicated software, with lots of people, it does get complicated.

It's easy to get stuck in the mud with big software and lots of people working remotely.

So communication is very important. Planning your work is very important.

I think it's very corny. But I have to admit that writing good user stories is important if you want yourself and your team to be effective.

Assuming you're a software engineer.

I asked SkyKick's resident expert on the subject: "What Makes a good User Story?" and I got back the INVEST criteria.

Independent. The story doesn't have dependencies or prerequisites.

Negotiable. The story isn't so rigid as to be brittle. Details can change and things can be rewritten. The important part of the story - the actual value of it - remains.

Valuable. Your Tech Debt Story Doesn't Matter If It Isn't Valuable To The Stakeholders. Stories completed need to be delivering value. We aren't getting these fat paychecks for nothing.

Estimable. If you have no idea how much effort it will take to get the work done, not even a reasonable guess, the story is worthless. We're trying to plan our Big Kid work at our Big Kid Company.

Small. If it's so big you can't get it done in a couple of days, it's not a story. It's an Epic, and multiple smaller stories need to be created under that epic.

Testable. You gotta be able to prove if it worked or not. Full stop.

If you gloss over these and write crappy user stories at work, you're going to have a bad time.