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RE: [XP] Re: Starting XP and splitting user stories

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  • Kent Beck
    Brian, In your case, it sounded like you and your customer both needed more-frequent feedback than you would get with the stories they could write alone.
    Message 1 of 12 , Jan 3, 2006
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      Brian,

      In your case, it sounded like you and your customer both needed
      more-frequent feedback than you would get with the stories they could write
      alone. That's a good time to start a conversation around the stories, "I
      understand that you want to see the data run all the way through the system.
      That's certainly my goal too. At the moment, though, I am worried about just
      acquiring the data first. I will have that done on Friday, but it won't be
      going through the rest of the system yet." This is the start of the
      conversation. From there the customer could say, "Yes, fine," or "I'd rather
      just see our test data run through the rest of the system," or "I'm not
      interested in seeing a demo until I can see the whole thing" to which I can
      reply, "Fine, but I'll send you a status report Friday to confirm that I'm
      on target."

      Encouraging customers to express themselves through stories is intended to
      give customers an avenue of expression, not remove an avenue of expression
      for programmers.

      Sincerely yours,

      Kent Beck
      Three Rivers Institute

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
      > [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Brian Victor
      > Sent: Friday, December 23, 2005 8:09 AM
      > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [XP] Re: Starting XP and splitting user stories
      >
      > I think my concern is that "data will be displayed in a terminal
      > emulator" isn't something that the customer would be likely
      > to suggest,
      > because it has no particular business value. Do you feel
      > this this is
      > that something that the developers could propose as an interim story?
      > From my reading it seems that would run counter to the idea of
      > customer-driven story writing, but I am new at this so I'm perfectly
      > willing to be wrong.
    • J. B. Rainsberger
      ... Ask: What s the good business reason for doing this? Make that your first-cut story. Now ask: What s the thinnest end-to-end slice I can build that
      Message 2 of 12 , Jan 12, 2006
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        Brian Victor wrote:

        > My question is with regard to how to split broad user stories into more
        > estimable pieces. We have an existing system that needs to receive data
        > from a new device, and the story was essentially, "acquire data from the
        > device and run it through the existing system." Because of the way the
        > existing software is designed, this touches several modules, and my
        > coworker and I were drawn into splitting it into technical details that
        > weren't really relevant to the user.

        Ask: "What's the good business reason for doing this?" Make that your
        first-cut story.

        Now ask: "What's the thinnest end-to-end slice I can build that would do
        something useful?" The words 'end-to-end' are important here. That
        becomes your first split-off story from the big one.

        > Is it your sense that user stories should explicitly not contain
        > under-the-cover details? Are there better ways to split something like
        > this which is, to the user, a single task?

        Stories are about delivering value; tasks are about how we make that
        happen. Stories are "vertical"; tasks are "horizontal". Splitting a
        story into tasks--if we bother to do that--is about understanding how to
        solve the problem. Splitting a story into smaller stories is about
        understanding the scope of the problem.

        I hope that helps.
        --
        J. B. (Joe) Rainsberger :: http://www.jbrains.info
        Your guide to software craftsmanship
        JUnit Recipes: Practical Methods for Programmer Testing
        2005 Gordon Pask Award for contribution Agile Software Practice
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