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New User Story Format Emphasizes Business Value

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Since the early days of agile, user stories have been a common way of capturing requirements. These short bits of documentation, often only a sentence or so written on an index card, capture the essence of the desired functionality. A conventional format for these stories has been:

As a <type of user> I want <some functionality> so that <some benefit>.

Elizabeth Keogh suggests that business value is more important than user role and presents a revised template for writing user stories, which she credits to Chris Matts. The traditional format emphasizes the importance of the user, mentioning them first. The newly proposed variation switches the emphasis to the business value:

In order to <achieve some value>, as a <type of user>, I want <some functionality>.

The change may be subtle, but it is likely to resonate in a value-focused environment.  Elizabeth goes on to describe how the focus on value carries over to planning a software release:
The word 'release' is more meaningful. There's some untapped money out there - some market share, some cost saving, some battle against a competitor. All the features we produce go towards releasing that value for our customers to use - and it's the value we're releasing, not the features.

Would refocusing users stories on business value make a difference in your environment? Leave a comment and share with the community.

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