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RE: [agile-usability] Origins of user stories

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  • William Hudson
    Many thanks to Steve, Gerard and Adam for their helpful additions. As an OO developer in the 1990 s I have heard of CRC cards, but it seems something of a jump
    Message 1 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
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      Many thanks to Steve, Gerard and Adam for their helpful additions.

       

      As an OO developer in the 1990’s I have heard of CRC cards, but it seems something of a jump (conceptually) to user stories. However, I have come across a 1994 paper at Interact that uses the term ‘user stories’ in the correct sense. The authors of that paper have adapted the term ‘war stories’ used in a 1986 paper from Xerox Parc called ‘Narratives at Work’ (does *everything* we do today come from Xerox Parc<g>?)

       

      I’d be really interested to see some of the original user stories if possible. From a UCD perspective the shift to roles is not really a benefit to users so it would be good to plot that development. Email me at whudson@... (if you’d prefer not to post them to the list).

       

      Regards,

       

      William

       

      From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Adam Sroka
      Sent: 27 March 2013 04:04
      To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
      Cc: spbroi@...
      Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Origins of user stories

       




      I can't remember who said it or the exact context, but I remember hearing that Ward and Kent really liked using cards for a variety of different things and that when stories came along it was just a natural fit. 

       

      The CRC paper is no smoking gun, but it is evidence that using cards to think about the software they were creating was something they were already doing at least that early. 

       

      On Tue, Mar 26, 2013 at 8:35 PM, Gerard Meszaros <yahoo@...> wrote:

       

      I was a member of the Hillside Group along with Kent Beck and Ward Cunningham in
      1995/1996 and was present at the first 4 PLOP conferences. The following is my
      understanding of the origins of XP and User Stories based on my direct contacts
      with them in that time frame.

      CRC cards (co-invented by Ward and were used in domain modeling and represent a
      single domain object class and its responsibilities and collaborators. (See
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Class-responsibility-collaboration_card) The user
      story card represents something the Customer wanted the Dev Team to build for
      them. Other than both being written on cards, there is really no similarity. So
      the 1989 OOPSLA paper is a red herring.

      You might take a look at the PLOP 1995 paper called Episodes which is the first
      writing I'm aware of that describes the process that came to be called eXtreme
      Programming. (see http://c2.com/ppr/episodes.html) It doesn't mention User
      Stories by name but refer to "Implied Requirement" and "Work Split" for the
      seeds of the user story concept.

      Best wishes,

      Gerard



      On 3/26/2013 8:09 PM, spbroi@... wrote:
      > Just a bit more. In 1989 Ward Cunningham and Kent Beck (then at Apple) gave a

      > paper at OOPSLA89which included the concept of the CRC card. I suspect that the


      > CRC card evolved into the user story at CCC as a way to make it more
      > 'user-friendly'. The concepts are similar.
      > =steve
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Adrian Howard <adrianh@...>
      > To: agile-usability <agile-usability@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Tue, Mar 26, 2013 9:09 am
      > Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Origins of user stories
      >
      > I'm moderately the certain that the term "user story" came out of the
      > XP crowd (possibly via being called "customer stories" first - my
      > memory is poor). The Scrum world talked about Product Backlog Items
      > and Sprint Backlog Items.
      >
      > The things on the cards may well be similar though. You'd need to ask
      > early Scrum team folk to be sure.
      >
      > So you may be looking for the same practice with a different name.
      >
      > The focus on the card being the token for the conversations that
      > define the spec - rather than being the spec artefact in toto was
      > something that came from the XP folk more. At least that was the
      > impression I had in the late 90's.
      >
      > Adrian
      >

      > On 26 March 2013 11:48, William Hudson <william.hudson@... <mailto:william.hudson@...>> wrote:
      >> Hi, Larry. Nice to hear from you.
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >> I have since come across a document entitled “User Stories Done Right:
      >> Requirements” by Jeff Sutherland. However, it has a copyright footer that
      >> reads ‘1993 – 2007’ so I’m trying to get in touch with Jeff to find the real
      >> date. Since the term is in the article title I’m supposing that it might be
      >> the earlier date.
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >> Regards,
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >> William
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >> From:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com <mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com>

      >> [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com <mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com?>] On Behalf Of Larry Constantine


      >> Sent: 26 March 2013 11:15

      >> To:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com <mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com>


      >> Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Origins of user stories
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >> AFAIK, Kent Beck first introduced the term with its contemporary usage. Of
      >> course, meanings evolve, and the user stories of the new century, especially
      >> when written by the IxD team, are quite different from those from the early
      >> days, which were far less focused and informed by IxD concerns.
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >> ~~Prof. Larry Constantine, IDSA, ACM Fellow
      >>
      >> Universidade da Madeira | Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >> [snipped]
      >
      >
      >
      > --

      > http://quietstars.com adrianh@... <mailto:adrianh@...> twitter.com/adrianh


      > t. +44 (0)7752 419080 skype adrianjohnhoward pinboard.in/u:adrianh
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >

      --
      Gerard Meszaros
      Lean/Agile Coach/Mentor/Trainer
      http://www.gerardmeszaros.com
      1-403-827-2967

      Author of the Jolt Productivity Award winning book "xUnit Test Patterns -
      Refactoring Test Code" and winner of the "Programming with the Stars"
      competition at Agile 2009. Learn more at http://xunitpatterns.com/index.html

       




    • Adrian Howard
      Hey William, ... That s an interesting statement to me. Could you expand upon it? Adrian -- http://quietstars.com adrianh@quietstars.com
      Message 2 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
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        Hey William,

        On 27 March 2013 11:34, William Hudson <william.hudson@...> wrote:
        > I’d be really interested to see some of the original user stories if
        > possible. From a UCD perspective the shift to roles is not really a benefit
        > to users so it would be good to plot that development.

        That's an interesting statement to me. Could you expand upon it?

        Adrian
        --
        http://quietstars.com adrianh@... twitter.com/adrianh
        t. +44 (0)7752 419080 skype adrianjohnhoward pinboard.in/u:adrianh
      • William Hudson
        A role is a systemizing concept so really makes no allowance for needs of the individual. Using it to represent users glosses over many of the inter-role
        Message 3 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
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          A role is a systemizing concept so really makes no allowance for needs of
          the individual. Using it to represent users glosses over many of the
          inter-role issues like role ambiguity, role incompatibility, role conflict
          and so on. Of course, we have Ivar Jacobson and use cases to thank for
          roles, and they're not entirely without merit, but someone filling role A in
          one context of use may have quite different needs to someone filling the
          same role in a different context.

          Regards,

          William


          -----Original Message-----
          From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
          [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Adrian Howard
          Sent: 27 March 2013 11:39
          To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Origins of user stories

          Hey William,

          On 27 March 2013 11:34, William Hudson <william.hudson@...> wrote:
          > I'd be really interested to see some of the original user stories if
          > possible. From a UCD perspective the shift to roles is not really a
          > benefit to users so it would be good to plot that development.

          That's an interesting statement to me. Could you expand upon it?

          Adrian
          --
          http://quietstars.com adrianh@... twitter.com/adrianh
          t. +44 (0)7752 419080 skype adrianjohnhoward pinboard.in/u:adrianh


          ------------------------------------

          Yahoo! Groups Links
        • Adrian Howard
          I d question whether the role slot in user stories often gets used in that way. The use-case role and the user story role tend to be used fairly
          Message 4 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
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            I'd question whether the role slot in user stories often gets used in
            that way. The use-case "role" and the user story "role" tend to be
            used fairly differently in my experience.

            We hit the same name - different usage problem again.

            They're normally much closer to customer archetypes / persona in my
            experience (indeed most agile ux folk I know who adopt the story
            format slot persona into the role hole).

            Cheers,

            Adrian

            On 27 March 2013 12:03, William Hudson <william.hudson@...> wrote:
            > A role is a systemizing concept so really makes no allowance for needs of
            > the individual. Using it to represent users glosses over many of the
            > inter-role issues like role ambiguity, role incompatibility, role conflict
            > and so on. Of course, we have Ivar Jacobson and use cases to thank for
            > roles, and they're not entirely without merit, but someone filling role A in
            > one context of use may have quite different needs to someone filling the
            > same role in a different context.
            >
            > Regards,
            >
            > William
            >
            >
            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
            > [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Adrian Howard
            > Sent: 27 March 2013 11:39
            > To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Origins of user stories
            >
            > Hey William,
            >
            > On 27 March 2013 11:34, William Hudson <william.hudson@...> wrote:
            >> I'd be really interested to see some of the original user stories if
            >> possible. From a UCD perspective the shift to roles is not really a
            >> benefit to users so it would be good to plot that development.
            >
            > That's an interesting statement to me. Could you expand upon it?
            >
            > Adrian
            > --
            > http://quietstars.com adrianh@... twitter.com/adrianh
            > t. +44 (0)7752 419080 skype adrianjohnhoward pinboard.in/u:adrianh
            >
            >
            > ------------------------------------
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >



            --
            http://quietstars.com adrianh@... twitter.com/adrianh
            t. +44 (0)7752 419080 skype adrianjohnhoward pinboard.in/u:adrianh
          • William Hudson
            Agilists who know little or nothing about usability/UCD do try to take roles literally. I was talking with a client just a couple of weeks ago who pointed this
            Message 5 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
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              Agilists who know little or nothing about usability/UCD do try to take roles
              literally. I was talking with a client just a couple of weeks ago who
              pointed this out as a problem with their introduction of UX design.

              Regards,

              William


              -----Original Message-----
              From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
              [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Adrian Howard
              Sent: 27 March 2013 12:11
              To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Origins of user stories

              I'd question whether the role slot in user stories often gets used in that
              way. The use-case "role" and the user story "role" tend to be used fairly
              differently in my experience.

              We hit the same name - different usage problem again.

              They're normally much closer to customer archetypes / persona in my
              experience (indeed most agile ux folk I know who adopt the story format slot
              persona into the role hole).

              Cheers,

              Adrian

              [snipped]
            • Adrian Howard
              ... My experiences differ. It does happen - of course - but my experiences of teams, even those without UX input, is that the roles are more often treated as
              Message 6 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
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                On 27 March 2013 12:22, William Hudson <william.hudson@...> wrote:
                > Agilists who know little or nothing about usability/UCD do try to take roles
                > literally. I was talking with a client just a couple of weeks ago who
                > pointed this out as a problem with their introduction of UX design.

                My experiences differ.

                It does happen - of course - but my experiences of teams, even those
                without UX input, is that the roles are more often treated as market
                segments / archetypes / etc.

                They're certainly seem to treated much more generally than use-case type roles.

                Possibly you're seeing teams who are primarily transferring from
                use-cases to stories? In those situations it's certainly a common
                problem.

                Cheers,

                Adrian
                --
                http://quietstars.com adrianh@... twitter.com/adrianh
                t. +44 (0)7752 419080 skype adrianjohnhoward pinboard.in/u:adrianh
              • Larry Constantine
                ... the individual. Using it to represent users glosses over many of the inter-role issues like role ambiguity, role incompatibility, role conflict and so on.
                Message 7 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
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                  William said:

                  > A role is a systemizing concept so really makes no allowance for needs of
                  the individual. Using it to represent users glosses over many of the
                  inter-role issues like role ambiguity, role incompatibility, role conflict
                  and so on. Of course, we have Ivar Jacobson and use cases to thank for
                  roles, and they're not entirely without merit, but someone filling role A in
                  one context of use may have quite different needs to someone filling the
                  same role in a different context. <

                  The user role concept traces back to contributions from Rebecca Wirfs-Brock
                  and was developed and elaborated in usage-centered design and later
                  model-driven activity-centered design (Constantine and Lockwood). A role is
                  a relationship between users and a system or service and is defined (ala
                  Wirfs-Brock) by a characteristic set of needs, expectations, interests, and
                  responsibilities in relation to the system/service and in the context of the
                  activity in which the user is participating. As such, a user role focuses
                  precisely on those issues most salient to effective interaction design (see
                  my chapter in The Persona Lifecycle for persuasive support). That it blurs
                  or compresses "individual differences" is precisely why it is a more compact
                  and efficient model, particularly for agile design and development.
                  Individual incumbents in a role vary immensely; the role itself is are far
                  less variable. Individuals are extremely complicated; roles are far simpler.
                  A well-formulated role absolutely does make allowance for the needs of the
                  individual, but not as an individual, not as a person, but rather as an
                  individual in a particular activity and in a particular relationship to a
                  designed artifact.

                  The critical issue in modeling for agile IxD/UxD is to model only what is
                  most important to model, compactly and concisely, to focus on what is likely
                  to yield the biggest payoff in guidance toward an effective design in the
                  least amount of time. The templated user role profiles employed in
                  usage-centered design and human activity modeling do just that,
                  concentrating the modeler/designer's attention on those things that are most
                  likely to directly impact and shape the design.

                  The issues you mention-role ambiguity, role incompatibility, role
                  conflict-are interesting from an intellectual standpoint and often play some
                  part in a complete analysis of human activity (we incorporate them in our
                  application of activity-theory to educational research, for instance), but
                  the relationship of the actor in role to the designed artifact is far more
                  relevant to designing that system or service. Inter-role issues that may be
                  important in organizational dynamics or social psychology are typically far
                  less central to getting the design right.

                  In the most recent incarnation of the user role profile that we use in
                  model-driven agile design (not yet written up), we have reduced the template
                  further to include just 3 categories (ORB): Orientation, Responsibilities,
                  and Background. Orientation and attitude of the actor in role to focal
                  activities and to the designed artifact; Responsibilities of the actor in
                  role within focal activities and with the designed artifact; Background
                  characteristics expected in relation to use of the designed artifact within
                  focal activities. This is a vast simplification from the concept of role in
                  activity theory and role theory, but it zeroes in on the stuff that is most
                  likely to make a difference, covering the bases on a single index card.

                  Modeling efficiency and design leverage are behind most of my work and the
                  usage/activity-centered design community. It is why we favor concise role
                  profiles over the decorative embellishments of personas, why essential use
                  cases win out over traditional concrete use cases and scenarios.

                  Psychologists and humanists can plead for attention to the individual, but,
                  as Don Norman and I pointed out some years ago, that is precisely the
                  problem. It is the focus on humans, on individuals, that diverts our
                  attention from the more important focus on what people are doing and trying
                  to do, that is, on activity as mediated by designed artifacts. This badly
                  needed shift in focus was behind my development of human activity modeling
                  (with Don's encouragement and contributions) and then its adaptation to
                  agile design and development. We drive AD&D by activity models not to
                  capture a complete analysis embodied in those models but to move as quickly
                  and efficiently as possible toward good designs. That means concentrating on
                  roles and activities and glossing over stuff that is less critical to speedy
                  solutions.

                  Prof. Larry Constantine, IDSA, ACM Fellow
                  Universidade da Madeira | Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute
                • William Hudson
                  Thanks, Larry. Very interesting. Do you know when Rebecca first started talking about roles? I have a paper here from Jacobson dated 1987 that describes their
                  Message 8 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
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                    Thanks, Larry. Very interesting. Do you know when Rebecca first started
                    talking about roles? I have a paper here from Jacobson dated 1987 that
                    describes their use in OO development.

                    BTW, I wasn't suggesting that designers of information systems should
                    thoroughly research roles and their interrelationships. My point is more
                    that roles are not a very useful focus of attention in many systems.

                    Regards,

                    William


                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                    [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Larry Constantine
                    Sent: 27 March 2013 13:06
                    To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Origins of user stories

                    William said:

                    > A role is a systemizing concept so really makes no allowance for needs
                    > of
                    the individual. Using it to represent users glosses over many of the
                    inter-role issues like role ambiguity, role incompatibility, role conflict
                    and so on. Of course, we have Ivar Jacobson and use cases to thank for
                    roles, and they're not entirely without merit, but someone filling role A in
                    one context of use may have quite different needs to someone filling the
                    same role in a different context. <

                    The user role concept traces back to contributions from Rebecca Wirfs-Brock
                    and was developed and elaborated in usage-centered design and later
                    model-driven activity-centered design (Constantine and Lockwood). A role is
                    a relationship between users and a system or service and is defined (ala
                    Wirfs-Brock) by a characteristic set of needs, expectations, interests, and
                    responsibilities in relation to the system/service and in the context of the
                    activity in which the user is participating. As such, a user role focuses
                    precisely on those issues most salient to effective interaction design (see
                    my chapter in The Persona Lifecycle for persuasive support). That it blurs
                    or compresses "individual differences" is precisely why it is a more compact
                    and efficient model, particularly for agile design and development.
                    Individual incumbents in a role vary immensely; the role itself is are far
                    less variable. Individuals are extremely complicated; roles are far simpler.
                    A well-formulated role absolutely does make allowance for the needs of the
                    individual, but not as an individual, not as a person, but rather as an
                    individual in a particular activity and in a particular relationship to a
                    designed artifact.

                    [snipped]
                  • Gerard Meszaros
                    ... Yes, they used cards for all sorts of purposes including organizing presentations by putting each thing they wanted to talk about onto a card. Easy to
                    Message 9 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
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                      On 3/26/2013 10:03 PM, Adam Sroka wrote:
                      > I can't remember who said it or the exact context, but I remember hearing that
                      > Ward and Kent really liked using cards for a variety of different things and
                      > that when stories came along it was just a natural fit.
                      >
                      >

                      Yes, they used cards for all sorts of purposes including organizing
                      presentations by putting each thing they wanted to talk about onto a card. Easy
                      to reorganize the content simply by moving the card. Other agilist/OO people
                      have adopted this style of presentation "notes" most notably (Uncle) Bob Martin
                      (who rarely uses visuals in presentation) and Ron Jeffries (another CCC team
                      member.)

                      Gerard

                      --
                      Gerard Meszaros
                      Lean/Agile Coach/Mentor/Trainer
                      http://www.gerardmeszaros.com
                      1-403-827-2967

                      Author of the Jolt Productivity Award winning book "xUnit Test Patterns -
                      Refactoring Test Code" and winner of the "Programming with the Stars"
                      competition at Agile 2009. Learn more at http://xunitpatterns.com/index.html
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