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User story help

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  • Bret Wortman
    I m working on grooming my backlog and am working with a very green team. The following user story, slightly edited, showed up in our backlog this morning. For
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 12, 2012
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      I'm working on grooming my backlog and am working with a very green team. The following user story, slightly edited, showed up in our backlog this morning. For context, the system being built is basically a plumbing infrastructure system, which performs message translation, forwarding & coordination on behalf of diverse and geographically dispersed systems.

      "As a client developer, I need to know that my program floods another system with requests at too high a rate, so that I can redesign my system for a more reasonable usage rate."

      I know what they're going for is a way to get feedback from our infrastructure that they're banging on a remote system too hard, but I'm not exactly sure how to rewrite the user story to reflect that. Maybe I'm just too tired or uncreative this morning. Any ideas?


      Bret
    • RonJeffries
      Hi Bret, ... If everyone understands what is really needed, there is no need to rewrite the story. Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com I m not bad, I m just
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 18, 2012
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        Hi Bret,

        On Jan 12, 2012, at 8:31 AM, Bret Wortman wrote:

        "As a client developer, I need to know that my program floods another
        system with requests at too high a rate, so that I can redesign my system
        for a more reasonable usage rate."

        I know what they're going for is a way to get feedback from our
        infrastructure that they're banging on a remote system too hard, but I'm
        not exactly sure how to rewrite the user story to reflect that. Maybe I'm
        just too tired or uncreative this morning. Any ideas?

        If everyone understands what is really needed, there is no need to rewrite the story.

        Ron Jeffries
        I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.  -- Jessica Rabbit

      • jamesjhawkins
        ... If I was in the operations team, I would probably take a view that any clients that hammer the infrastructure should be swiftly diabled. Is the story for a
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 19, 2012
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          > "As a client developer, I need to know that my program floods another
          > system with requests at too high a rate, so that I can redesign my system
          > for a more reasonable usage rate."

          If I was in the operations team, I would probably take a view that any clients that hammer the infrastructure should be swiftly diabled.

          Is the story for a feature that will give developers a way to find out in advance that their system is going to hammer the infrastructure?
          Or, is it for a feature that alerts them when it's happening?
          For me, the second of those is not quite consistent with a system redesign. I'm saying that because a system redesign seems like it would be a lengthy process.

          Cheers, Jim
        • Steve Ropa
          I think Ron is absolutely right. If I *were* to rephrase it, I might say something like Client developers need feedback as to the amount of traffic they are
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 19, 2012
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            I think Ron is absolutely right.

             

            If I *were* to rephrase it, I might say something like “Client developers need feedback as to the amount of traffic they are hitting the system with.  They should be warned if they are hitting the system too hard, so they can take corrective measures.”

             

            Even so, the key is that the team understands what is needed.

             

            From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of RonJeffries
            Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:07 PM
            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] User story help

             

             

            Hi Bret,

             

            On Jan 12, 2012, at 8:31 AM, Bret Wortman wrote:



            "As a client developer, I need to know that my program floods another
            system with requests at too high a rate, so that I can redesign my system
            for a more reasonable usage rate."

            I know what they're going for is a way to get feedback from our
            infrastructure that they're banging on a remote system too hard, but I'm
            not exactly sure how to rewrite the user story to reflect that. Maybe I'm
            just too tired or uncreative this morning. Any ideas?

             

            If everyone understands what is really needed, there is no need to rewrite the story.


            Ron Jeffries

            I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.  -- Jessica Rabbit

             

          • Bret Wortman
            In discussing the story with our PO, it was determined that it should be deleted, not just prioritized to the bottom. Maybe a bit extreme, but it also made
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 19, 2012
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              In discussing the story with our PO, it was determined that it should be deleted, not just prioritized to the bottom. Maybe a bit extreme, but it also made rewriting unnecessary. 


              Bret

              On Jan 19, 2012, at 11:08 AM, Steve Ropa <theropas@...> wrote:

               

              I think Ron is absolutely right.

               

              If I *were* to rephrase it, I might say something like “Client developers need feedback as to the amount of traffic they are hitting the system with.  They should be warned if they are hitting the system too hard, so they can take corrective measures.”

               

              Even so, the key is that the team understands what is needed.

               

              From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of RonJeffries
              Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:07 PM
              To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] User story help

               

               

              Hi Bret,

               

              On Jan 12, 2012, at 8:31 AM, Bret Wortman wrote:



              "As a client developer, I need to know that my program floods another
              system with requests at too high a rate, so that I can redesign my system
              for a more reasonable usage rate."

              I know what they're going for is a way to get feedback from our
              infrastructure that they're banging on a remote system too hard, but I'm
              not exactly sure how to rewrite the user story to reflect that. Maybe I'm
              just too tired or uncreative this morning. Any ideas?

               

              If everyone understands what is really needed, there is no need to rewrite the story.


              Ron Jeffries

              I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.  -- Jessica Rabbit

               

            • Pierre Neis
              It seems that your story is not INVEST! 1. rewrite 2. is it a virtual user? If no, then go ask him/her 3. if it s unclear, then it s not urgent 4. which are
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 20, 2012
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                It seems that your story is not INVEST!

                1. rewrite
                2. is it a virtual user? If no, then go ask him/her
                3. if it's unclear, then it's not urgent
                4. which are the acceptance criteria of the US?

                MAKE AN ELEFANT SASHIMI!


                Pierre E.  NEIScsp

                PMO Advisor @ coPROcess S.A. 
                │ Scrum & Lean Coach   

                M: +352 / 661 727 867  - Skype: pierre.neis  
                Meet with me: http://meetwith.me/pierreneis


                Owner of The "
                Product Owner's Help Desk"

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                TwitterLatest tweet: Agile Ruined My Life http://t.co/jxNwQ6gs via @danielbmarkham Follow @elPedroMajor Reply Retweet   16:04 Jan-19


                On 19 January 2012 17:08, Steve Ropa <theropas@...> wrote:
                 

                I think Ron is absolutely right.

                 

                If I *were* to rephrase it, I might say something like “Client developers need feedback as to the amount of traffic they are hitting the system with.  They should be warned if they are hitting the system too hard, so they can take corrective measures.”

                 

                Even so, the key is that the team understands what is needed.

                 

                From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of RonJeffries
                Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:07 PM
                To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] User story help

                 

                 

                Hi Bret,

                 

                On Jan 12, 2012, at 8:31 AM, Bret Wortman wrote:



                "As a client developer, I need to know that my program floods another
                system with requests at too high a rate, so that I can redesign my system
                for a more reasonable usage rate."

                I know what they're going for is a way to get feedback from our
                infrastructure that they're banging on a remote system too hard, but I'm
                not exactly sure how to rewrite the user story to reflect that. Maybe I'm
                just too tired or uncreative this morning. Any ideas?

                 

                If everyone understands what is really needed, there is no need to rewrite the story.


                Ron Jeffries

                I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.  -- Jessica Rabbit

                 


              • Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSM PSM I
                I concur with Ron, but from the description you wrote, it s unclear to me what the infrastructure is supposed to when this happens.  Sure, it needs to give
                Message 7 of 9 , Jan 29, 2012
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                  I concur with Ron, but from the description you wrote, it's unclear to me what the infrastructure is supposed to when this happens.  Sure, it needs to give "feedback", but the user story is not complete and ready for development IMO until you know what this feedback is... Is it a 503 - Server Unavailable?  Is it an exception being thrown?  Is it a service you can call that will tell you if you're overloading the infrastructure system?

                  As your story is written, it sounds like it's written by someone outside of the system, and that's perfectly fine as an early stage user story-- but the user story is not complete yet because you haven't written actionable confirmations(aka acceptance tests, story tests) -- or at least you haven't told us what they are. 

                  However, through the process of backlog grooming or some other interaction (maybe backlog grooming plus a little back and forth with the stakeholder), I would try to come to some agreement with the requester as to what, more specifically, that means.  My guess is it would be much easier to write your story more specifically in that case if you so desired. 

                  On the flip side, I only like the user story template as a start, and usually only for stakeholders -- and even then I find conversing better than trying to re-word the perfect sentence.  I like to, after conversations between the stakeholder, PO, and Dev Team (through backlog grooming or other interaction), lighten the user story title(converting the "As a..." sentence to something shorter and easier to quickly write on a card or sticky note) and instead focus on the acceptance tests.

                  For instance, after said conversations, I might lighten the story to:

                  User Story Description(used to be "As a client developer..."): Notify client upon excessive requests
                  <conversation, conversation... resulting in...>
                  Acceptance Tests:
                  1.  Test that, when a client makes more than 30 "read only" type requests within 3 seconds, a 503 - Server Unavailable error is returned.
                  2.  Test that, when a client makes more than 10 "update" type requests within 3 seconds, a 503 - Server Unavailable is returned.

                  At this point, and assuming minor details are filled in verbally, the story is ready for development.

                  To me, spending any more than about 120 "man seconds" on *re*-writing an "As a..." sentence is a bad smell.  Instead, have conversations and come to an agreement on specific acceptance tests.  The "As a..." template was not in the original User Story practice anyway.  It was added later, and IMO, it only has ROI in very special contexts.
                   
                  -------
                  Charles Bradley
                  http://www.ScrumCrazy.com


                  From: RonJeffries <ronjeffries@...>
                  To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:06 PM
                  Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] User story help



                  Hi Bret,

                  On Jan 12, 2012, at 8:31 AM, Bret Wortman wrote:

                  "As a client developer, I need to know that my program floods another
                  system with requests at too high a rate, so that I can redesign my system
                  for a more reasonable usage rate."

                  I know what they're going for is a way to get feedback from our
                  infrastructure that they're banging on a remote system too hard, but I'm
                  not exactly sure how to rewrite the user story to reflect that. Maybe I'm
                  just too tired or uncreative this morning. Any ideas?

                  If everyone understands what is really needed, there is no need to rewrite the story.

                  Ron Jeffries
                  I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.  -- Jessica Rabbit





                • Steve Ropa
                  That was a really good choice. The odds are good that, if you need the story again, you will find a better way to write it the next time. That s how I
                  Message 8 of 9 , Feb 1, 2012
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                    That was a really good choice.  The odds are good that, if you need the story again, you will find a better way to write it the next time.  That’s how I approach my code, too.

                     

                    From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Bret Wortman
                    Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2012 10:20 AM
                    To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] User story help

                     

                     

                    In discussing the story with our PO, it was determined that it should be deleted, not just prioritized to the bottom. Maybe a bit extreme, but it also made rewriting unnecessary. 

                     

                    Bret


                    On Jan 19, 2012, at 11:08 AM, Steve Ropa <theropas@...> wrote:

                     

                    I think Ron is absolutely right.

                     

                    If I *were* to rephrase it, I might say something like “Client developers need feedback as to the amount of traffic they are hitting the system with.  They should be warned if they are hitting the system too hard, so they can take corrective measures.”

                     

                    Even so, the key is that the team understands what is needed.

                     

                    From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of RonJeffries
                    Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:07 PM
                    To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] User story help

                     

                     

                    Hi Bret,

                     

                    On Jan 12, 2012, at 8:31 AM, Bret Wortman wrote:

                     

                    "As a client developer, I need to know that my program floods another
                    system with requests at too high a rate, so that I can redesign my system
                    for a more reasonable usage rate."

                    I know what they're going for is a way to get feedback from our
                    infrastructure that they're banging on a remote system too hard, but I'm
                    not exactly sure how to rewrite the user story to reflect that. Maybe I'm
                    just too tired or uncreative this morning. Any ideas?

                     

                    If everyone understands what is really needed, there is no need to rewrite the story.


                    Ron Jeffries

                    I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.  -- Jessica Rabbit

                     

                  • JackM
                    Completely agree with Charles and Ron. What s most important are the acceptance test criteria. Focus on getting that right. Make sure you come to agreement in
                    Message 9 of 9 , Feb 1, 2012
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                      Completely agree with Charles and Ron.

                      What's most important are the acceptance test criteria. Focus on getting that right. Make sure you come to agreement in the team setting preferably with the stakeholder or customer present.

                      Happy scrumming
                      Jack
                      www.agilebuddy.com

                      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSM PSM I <chuck-lists2@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > I concur with Ron, but from the description you wrote, it's
                      > unclear to me what the infrastructure is supposed to when this happens. 
                      > Sure, it needs to give "feedback", but the user story is not complete
                      > and ready for development IMO until you know what this feedback is... Is
                      > it a 503 - Server Unavailable?  Is it an exception being thrown?  Is it
                      > a service you can call that will tell you if you're overloading the
                      > infrastructure system?
                      >
                      > As your story is written, it sounds like it's written by someone outside
                      > of the system, and that's perfectly fine as an early stage user story--
                      > but the user story is not complete yet because you haven't written
                      > actionable confirmations(aka acceptance tests, story tests) -- or at
                      > least you haven't told us what they are. 
                      >
                      >
                      > However,
                      > through the process of backlog grooming or some other interaction (maybe backlog grooming plus a little back and forth with the stakeholder), I
                      > would try to come to some agreement with the requester as to what, more
                      > specifically, that means.  My guess is it would be much easier to write
                      > your story more specifically in that case if you so desired. 
                      >
                      >
                      > On the flip side, I only like the user story template as a start, and
                      > usually only for stakeholders -- and even then I find conversing better
                      > than trying to re-word the perfect sentence.  I like to, after
                      > conversations between the stakeholder, PO, and Dev Team (through backlog grooming or other interaction), lighten the user story title(converting the "As a..." sentence to something shorter and easier to quickly write on a card or sticky note) and instead focus on the acceptance tests.
                      >
                      > For instance, after said conversations, I might lighten the story to:
                      >
                      > User Story Description(used to be "As a client developer..."): Notify client upon excessive requests
                      > <conversation, conversation... resulting in...>
                      > Acceptance Tests:
                      > 1.  Test that, when a client makes more than 30 "read only" type requests
                      > within 3 seconds, a 503 - Server Unavailable error is returned.
                      > 2.  Test that, when a client makes more than 10 "update" type requests within 3 seconds, a 503 - Server Unavailable is returned.
                      >
                      > At this point, and assuming minor details are filled in verbally, the story is ready for development.
                      >
                      >
                      > To me, spending any more than about 120 "man seconds" on *re*-writing an "As a..."
                      > sentence is a bad smell.  Instead, have conversations and come to an
                      > agreement on specific acceptance tests.  The "As a..." template was not
                      > in the original User Story practice anyway.  It was added later, and
                      > IMO, it only has ROI in very special contexts.
                      >
                      >  
                      > -------
                      > Charles Bradley
                      > http://www.ScrumCrazy.com
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > >________________________________
                      > > From: RonJeffries <ronjeffries@...>
                      > >To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                      > >Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:06 PM
                      > >Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] User story help
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >Hi Bret,
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >On Jan 12, 2012, at 8:31 AM, Bret Wortman wrote:
                      > >
                      > >"As a client developer, I need to know that my program floods another
                      > >>system with requests at too high a rate, so that I can redesign my system
                      > >>for a more reasonable usage rate."
                      > >>
                      > >>I know what they're going for is a way to get feedback from our
                      > >>infrastructure that they're banging on a remote system too hard, but I'm
                      > >>not exactly sure how to rewrite the user story to reflect that. Maybe I'm
                      > >>just too tired or uncreative this morning. Any ideas?
                      > >
                      > >If everyone understands what is really needed, there is no need to rewrite the story.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >Ron Jeffries
                      > >www.XProgramming.com
                      > >I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.  -- Jessica Rabbit
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      >
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