To put it a slightly different way: What scientists do is use their
insights and intuition to decide what to investigate and then use
their tools to make hopefully quite definitive statements about the
thing they are investigating.
What is useful about the template is that it points out three things
that one should know about a User Story: Who is the user that this
story is valuable to? What does that user need to be able to do? And,
Why is that valuable to the user? If you don't know those three things
you probably don't understand the problem well enough to make it into
The problem is the assumption that if you have a who, a what, and a
why then you automatically have a story. Also, that every requirement
you can think of is a story and you just need to come up with a who, a
what, and a why and then put it on the board.
What I believe is that you should know who, what, and why, that these
things should demonstrate obvious value to the user and the customer.
If you have all that then you probably have a good story. The next
step is to decide how to write it down:
I think it is important to write down the what part.
The who can be implicit - often it is any user of the system. Writing
"As a user..." is useless and redundant. If there are different users
of your system that want to do different things with it then it is
probably useful to communicate that if this is one of those things
that only certain users do.
Writing things like: "As the system," "As the PO," "As a developer,"
etc are bright, giant red flags. My advise is to never, ever do that.
Those are not users, and the thing they want to do is almost certainly
not a user story.
The why can also be implicit. It becomes important to say something
about why on those occasions where why is not intuitive. For example,
if team members are continually asking why the user wants to do
something then get the answer and write it down.
Having said all that, I think that the template is purely an optional
thing and a matter of preference. However, understanding how a user
story derives value for your users is not optional.
On Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 2:18 PM, Laurent Bossavit <laurent@...> wrote:
> > I feel a kid being made to write "I must not do X" a 1000 times in a
> > chalkboard
> I feel for you. I'm learning Special Relativity, it's a pain to have
> to go through all these sines and cosines and diagrams and whatnot.
> It's all relative, the twins aren't the same age when the first one
> returns to Earth: see, I *got* it already! What do I have to do all
> this *math* for?
> And yet...
> The "As a..." format is a thinking tool. If you use it insincerely, it
> will fail you in the same way that cosines will fail you if you use
> them because it feels like you should. Rather, when you use the tool
> as a way to get to answers that were previously hard to get to, and
> use it over and over again, you will find that your capacity to solve
> these problems "naturally" eventually takes over. You can then let go
> of the tool.
> As long as you find a thinking tool irritating, you may not have fully
> "got it".
> It's a separate question entirely whether the thinking tool is worth
> learning. Perhaps it isn't. If you feel it isn't, just tell your
> teacher/trainer/coach/whatever that you refuse to learn it, and
> present your reasons why. Skepticism is a thinking tool too. Laziness
> - the refusal to overcome or confront the discomfort of learning -
> Laurent Bossavit