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"Automatic Activity"-based User Stories

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  • Mike Bria
    Hi everyone -- I work on a very large enterprise hospital software project. Very often, the functionality requested is very backend, automated, rules based
    Message 1 of 44 , Jan 4, 2007
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      Hi everyone --

      I work on a very large enterprise hospital software project.

      Very often, the functionality requested is very "backend, automated,
      rules based" software. The rub with this is that "the user" (or human
      end user that is) is often many ticks away from the activity being
      requested. As a result it is very difficult (if not near impossible)
      to write stories that involve "user" actors.

      For example, say the system already supports the entering of a service
      ("heart transplant") into the clinical component by a doctor using a
      web-enabled Palm device. Let's say also that the system already
      supports automatically recalculating the patient's balance in the
      accounting component when a service is entered in this way. A new
      feature might be to add support for the system to automatically post a
      balance adjustment that writes-off the resulting balance if it is
      under $10.

      How do I represent this new feature as a "user" story?

      In such cases the "As a [type of user], I can [activity] so that I may
      [resultant consequence]" format doesn't at all feel right.

      I searched the mailing list for this subject and found the following
      comment by Ron Jeffries that touches on the subject:

      >The first XP program was a payroll.
      >All the stories were things like:
      >
      >"If an employee belongs to a union,
      >the system charges him his union dues on
      >the first payroll of the month.
      >The amount is ..."

      But even in this case there is a human factor ("If an employee..."),
      so I'm still not sure how to make it work.

      Can anyone help me out? Thanks!..
      --MB
    • Ron Jeffries
      Hello, John. On Friday, January 12, 2007, at 8:26:38 AM, you ... In what way is it vital to your company? That s the business reason, I d guess ... Ron
      Message 44 of 44 , Jan 12, 2007
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        Hello, John. On Friday, January 12, 2007, at 8:26:38 AM, you
        wrote:

        > I'm still slightly hung up on the business case however...
        > There are several business cases, but like I said they all come from
        > my company and not the customer. This change will help the customer
        > (intall/upgrade time, runtime), but it is not something that they have
        > asked for. I understand that my last statement should preclude us from
        > doing this work, but it is vital from our (the company) standpoint.

        > This is not work that we cannot do simply because it does not seem to
        > directly benefit the customer. I think we have a good solution for
        > tracking the work in 'stories' for this particular problem, but I
        > think that there has to be a way to track work that has to be done to
        > address something the company that is writing the program needs from
        > it where our shoehorning isn't possible.

        In what way is it "vital" to your company? That's the business
        reason, I'd guess ...

        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        Master your instrument, master the music,
        and then forget all that *!xy!@ and just play. -- Charlie Parker
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