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158592Re: Origins of user stories

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  • kentlbeck
    Mar 26, 2013
      There are three antecedents I can think of:
      * Use Cases, which were a revelation to me. Imagine, measuring progress using units the customer cares about! Before that we'd have a pile of requirements, extract technical tasks, and measure progress based on the tasks. The idea that half way through a project half of the features would be usable was revolutionary.
      * A story Kristen Nygaard told me about dock workers (maybe) helping to design the software they would use. I loved the breakdown of the patronizing attitude I had as a programmer (especially since said attitude often concealed ignorance and terror).
      * One day at a mutual fund I heard an expert user excitedly telling another user about this great new feature--just type in a zip code and the city and state are filled in automatically. That gave me the "story" metaphor--these are stories the user would like to tell about the system (btw I don't like prepending "user", but whatever).

      The hardest part of applying stories doesn't appear to be decomposition, but rather giving up disproportionate power. Programmers have been high priests from the days of the raised floor. Accepting that other groups should an appropriate level of power in projects (with all the conflict that implies) is uncomfortable. Hence all the attempts to slyly snatch power back.

      Kent

      --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "william.syntagm" <william.hudson@...> wrote:
      >
      > I'm researching the origins of the term and concept 'user story'. The first mention in print is Kent Beck's Extreme Programming in 1999, but the first XP project started in 1996 (according to Wikipedia) but were stories a part of it? Where did they come from? The prevalent approach at the time was use cases.
      >
      > I have already done quite a bit of web searching on this so I'm not looking for Google hits<g>. Please let me know if you have some information that a web search wouldn't readily turn up.
      >
      > Thanks in advance.
      >
      > Regards,
      >
      > William
      >
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