Miscommunication in software specifications.

There are often misunderstandings in software specification documents. The solution we typically choose is to make more detailed specifications. Unfortuantely that doesn't lead to better results
You can also read this post in

An experience I recently had

I was waiting online to chat with a service representative. Of course I ended up chatting to a bot for a while which wasn’t very helpful in my case. After a while I was transferred to a real human being. While I was waiting this was my experience in WhatsApp (see image). Waiting time in these messages should have been the time you still have to wait, according to the text. The developer has seemingly implemented it as the time you are already waiting…..

That makes for a pretty bad customer experience:

    1. The customer expects to be answered very quickly

    1. The customer receives a WhatsApp message every minute

 

Origin of User Stories

In my Product Owner training I always emphasize that the job of a Product Owner is not to write better User Stories, but to tell better stories from users.

User Stories originated when Kent Beck, the founder of eXtreme Programming (XP), received feedback from a user who was so excited to receive new functionality that the idea arose to try to predefine the user’s response. What is the response you hope to get from the user when they are able to use the new functionality?

To make it easier, Ron Jeffries has created a template for it. If you work with Agile or Scrum, you have probably seen it.

 

As a <type of user>
I want <some function>
So that <some value>

 

They describe WHO, WHAT and WHY (please note; not HOW).

 

Misuse of User Stories

The mistake that is often made is that this template is seen as the new way to record requirement specifications. By trying to capture requirements in the template that have no relation to the user at all. For example:

 

As a Developer I want a Database so that I can store my data.
As a Product Owner I need a report so that I can show it to the CEO.

 

Entire documents and blocks of text are also attached to items in Jira, TFS, etc.

That is not what User Stories are intended for, they are the basis for Social Requirements gathering, or having better conversations with each other about the users and functionality between developers and users. As an alternative to users, you can also use representatives or also called stakeholders for this, but they must really understand and be able to represent the users.

As Coach of the first XP team, Ron Jeffries introduced the 3 C’s: Card, Conversation, and Confirmation.

    • Card: An index card with title and one or two sentences of explanation.

    • Conversation: Discussion with the entire team about what is desired

    • Confirmation: Record how to determine whether it complies

User Stories don’t have to be perfectly defined before the conversation takes place with the team. During the #BacklogRefinement, the definition of the User Story can be adjusted and Acceptance Criteria can be rewritten or added.

 

How we can help

If you are interested to have better conversations, take a look at our User Story Mapping Workshop

We will also discuss this in our Certified Scrum Product Owner training, see our schedule below.

 

Share:

Related Blog Post

10 advantages of using Sprint Goals

At Better Change, we believe in the power of team collaboration to deliver value in organisations. An important and often overlooked aspects of this is the use of Sprint Goals. They are clear, concise objectives set for each Sprint that provide direction and focus to Scrum teams.

Scaling Challenges: A CIO’s Perspective

Many CIOs begin ambitious scaling initiatives, aiming to unlock agility and expedite time-to-market. However, the path can be riddled with unexpected hurdles. This article explores common roadblocks and offers guidance…

Elevate Your SAFe® By Breaking Down Barriers

Impact of Hierarchical Boundaries on SAFe® Scaled Agile Framework Adoption In the pursuit of organisational agility, the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) above all is thought to offer a roadmap for…

Related Training

Related Resources

How to Run a Retrospective

Running an effective retrospective is crucial for continuous improvement in Agile teams. If you’ve ever felt that your team’s retrospectives are lacking direction or failing to produce actionable insights, you’re…

A circular flow chart with various stages representing the scrum process

The Scrum Process Explained

Uncover the intricacies of the Scrum process and learn how this agile framework can revolutionize project management.

A telescope focusing on a distant

What is a Product Vision?

Discover the power of a product vision and how it shapes the future of a business.

More Posts

Let's Talk About
How We Can Help!

Are you enjoying our articles? Even better you can talk to us in person! Get in touch with us so we can schedule something!