How are User Stories Created in a Scrum Project?

June 9, 2014

How are User Stories Created in a Scrum Project?

In a Scrum project, the responsibility for creating User Stories generally lies with the Product

Owner(s). User Stories ensure that the customer requirements are clearly depicted and are

understood by all the key internal and external stakeholders including the Scrum Team who deliver

the outputs of the project. In Scrum, the User Stories and the associated Acceptance Criteria are

outputs of the Create User Stories process which is executed by the Product Owner.

Before we discuss the process of creating User Stories, let’s understand what they are. User Stories

adhere to a specific, predefined structure and are a simplistic way of documenting the requirements

and desired end-user functionality. A User Story tells you three things about the requirement:

Who, What, and Why. The requirements expressed in User Stories are short, simple, and easy-
to-understand statements. The predefined, standard format results in enhanced communication

among the stakeholders and better estimations by the team. Some User Stories may be too large to

handle within a single Sprint. These large User Stories are often called Epics, and once they come up

in the Prioritized Product Backlog to be done in an upcoming Sprint, they are further decomposed

into multiple smaller User Stories.

Now, let us understand Create User Stories process in detail. Similar to other Scrum processes, this

process too has its key inputs, tools and outputs. The key inputs are Scrum Core Team, Prioritized

Product Backlog, Done Criteria, and Personas. The most import tool is User Story Writing Expertise.

And the major outputs are User Stories and User Story Acceptance Criteria.

Let’s discuss the inputs first. Scrum Core Team includes Scrum Team, Scrum Master and Product

Owner. Although the entire Scrum Core Team needs to be involved in creation of the User Stories,

it is the Product Owner who decides the User Stories as he/she creates the project’s initial overall

requirements, determines Product Vision, assesses the viability and ensures delivery of the product

or service, decides minimum marketable release content and ultimately, provides Acceptance

Criteria for the User Stories to be developed in a Sprint. However, the Scrum Team can seek

clarifications from the Product Owner and also provide expert opinion on creation of User Stories.

One of the major tools or techniques that can be used to develop User Stories is User Story Writing

Expertise. The Product Owner, based on his/her interaction with the stakeholders, his/her own

business knowledge and expertise, and inputs from the team, will develop the User Stories that

will form the initial Prioritized Product Backlog for the project. The Prioritized Product Backlog

represents the sum total of what must be completed during the project. The objective of this

exercise is to create elaborated and refined User Stories that the Scrum Team commit to. Although

the Product Owner has the primary responsibility for writing User Stories, and often carries out this

exercise on his/her own, a User Story Writing Workshop can be held if desired.


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