What is a user story

A User Story is a well-formed, brief, and straightforward statement of a software requirement stated in an informal and natural language from an end-user’s perspective. It is the primary artifact used in the agile software development process to capture the needs of end-users, and it is also the most complex.

User stories are produced by a product manager or a team member on behalf of the end-user. They describe the system’s functionality under development is anticipated to provide to them.

The history of User Stories

User stories have a rich history.

Dr. Alistair Cockburn came up with the initial concept of the user story in the late 1990s and developed it further. Since then, several practitioners have worked to refine the way user stories are used, including the following:

Ron Jeffrey proposed the “Three C’s” methodology (which will be discussed later) for user stories in 2001, which has been in use since.

In 2004, Mike Cohn wrote the book User Stories Applied For Agile Software Development, which expanded on the principles of user stories and applied them to a broader range of situations.

A decade later, the 2014 book User Story Mapping: Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product by Jeff Patton and Peter Economy, published by Wiley and has introduced a new set of methodologies for identifying, structuring, and providing greater visibility to user stories.

When a User Story is being used

In agile development frameworks like scrum and eXtreme programming, user stories serve as the primary means of capturing high-level requirements (XP).

According to the agile scrum framework, item descriptions in the product backlog are written as user stories. Doing so allows project teams and product owners to concentrate on requirements stated from the customer’s perspective.

User stories are used as acceptance criteria for products in the Extreme Programming (XP) methodology. The XP developers use the user stories to construct acceptance tests, which are completed even before the product code is written for the product. This strategy saves time while also ensuring that the project code meets the acceptance requirements established by the client. In the XP framework, user stories are also used to create estimations for release planning meetings, held every two weeks.

As the project advances, requirements change as teams and clients better understand the technology. I expected project teams to work off a static requirements list and deliver working software months later.


The Phases of a User Story

Usually, a user story is divided into three steps, which are called The 3 C’s:

●     Card: a quick summary of the need

●     Conversation: The discussions that take place during backlog grooming and iteration planning to finalize the specifics

●     Confirmation:  The tests indicate that the tale has been completed well.

The benefits of using a User Story

By emphasizing customer-centric dialogues, user stories save the time spent authoring extensive documentation. We replace the massive upfront design with a “just enough” approach with the user story methodology. As a result, user stories enable teams to produce high-quality software faster, which is what consumers want.


The following are some of the ways that a well-written user story can improve the software development process:

Effectiveness: User stories are more likely to be effective when written in a single phrase because they cover crucial components such as the user’s role, capabilities, desires, and goals. It is much more precise for the entire product team to understand these elements when explicitly described.

This helps to ensure that development remains laser-focused on the needs of end-users.Furthermore, Improved teamwork is possible thanks to User stories aid in aligning all critical stakeholders on what is being built and why it is being developed.

Being able to mitigate project risks: User stories are, at their heart, a user-centric tool for the product team to employ in their design and development. This assists in ensuring that oversights and scope creep are identified and addressed early on.

Disadvantages of using user stories

These are some of the challenges that agile development teams have faced when using user stories to record requirements.

Reduce the emphasis on non-functional requirements: Most user stories are concerned with recording functional requirements (i.e., how end-users directly interact with the system). The non-functional needs like performance, fault tolerance, usability, durability, modifiability, and so on may not be captured well or at all by the conventional user narrative templates unless they are explicitly stated.

Challenging to scale: It tends to be quite challenging to use user stories for more extensive and complicated projects because the format is minimal and focuses on specific functionality. In some cases, scaling them up becomes problematic as a project’s complexity increases.

Engineers may be unable to work with ambiguous or incomplete requirements because user stories are stated more informally and naturally than rigorous specifications. This, on the other hand, may be overcome with adequate training in how to design excellent user stories.

How To Use a User Story

According to the authors, you should write user stories with the following agile concepts.


Step one – The primary indicator of progress is the presence of functional software.

Step two – ensuring that customers are satisfied through the timely and continual release of essential software is the highest priority.

Step three- Ease and simplicity.

High-quality user stories assist project teams in clearly and precisely understanding client needs, but they also improve the efficiency of the project estimating and development processes.

Examples For user stories

Using a single line, user narrative templates can quickly and accurately describe who an end-user is, what they want, and why they want it.

This section contains some examples of user stories produced using various templates that agile development teams have adopted to capture the needs of their projects.

1. Rachel Davies’ connector template in 2007.


Consider the following scenario: As a manager, I would like to see the current status of continuing work so that I can schedule when I will give it to senior leadership.

Chris Matts changed the user story template in version 2.0.

To function as a, I can use the following template:

For example, if I want to add new friends to my profile as a user, I should be able to issue friend invitations to other community members.

2. The improved Elias Weldemichae user story template: IT reads as follows: “I can do this because I am a”

An illustration would be the ability to comment on the blog as a follower to gain feedback from the site’s author.

4. The five W’s model was the user story template:

Template: As a result of the fact that I am a’

Consider the following scenario: As a software tester, when I file a defect under each developer’s name, I want them to receive a message to ensure that the developer is aware of the faults I have reported.


User stories are developed to capture the most relevant components of a need, and they are written following a template. Known as the connector template, it is the most often used user narrative template. In addition, A user outlines their job in the system, capabilities, and the benefits they hope to gain from the system in a single sentence.

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