Spotlight will implement user stories in an upcoming release to make software requirements easier to communicate between the client and technical team. So what’s the story behind user stories?
In Agile software development, user stories capture the ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘why’ of a requirement in a simple, concise way. User Stories are designed to keep development teams focused on customer needs, and serve as the driving force behind quickly delivering valuable, high quality software.
Anyone that has used the Agile software development process has probably experienced communication issues between the development team and client. The issues become even larger in a remote or virtual team setting.
Creating user stories is a great way of opening discussion and bridging the communication gap between the client and development team. User stories created by the product owner (typically the client) are written in a non-technical format that fulfills a business requirement for the project. The development team then creates the needed tasks to satisfy the client’s business requirements. Creating the tasks of the project this way allows everyone to understand what is needed to achieve the requirements.
If you have worked with user stories before, then you probably understand the keys to writing effective user stories using the INVEST model. A Google search of the term will lead you to hundreds of good articles.
But from a client and business standpoint, you may be wondering what advantages user stories actually provide for a development project. Here are 5 benefits that user stories provide:
Creating user stories is fast and easy
User stories are easy and fast to write. Clients with no software development experience at all can write them easily to communicate their goals. Not a lot of time or money is invested in writing them; therefore, if they are changed or never used, the team has not lost a lot in developing them.
Written by the “user”
User stories are ideally written by the “user” or client in most cases. This allows the development team to spend time with the user and better understand the functionality that they want. If a client is not comfortable writing the user stories for their project, the development team can step in and assist them, enabling a better understanding of what the end product needs to accomplish.
Easy for remote development teams
User stories are simple enough that a freelance or outsourced team would easily be able to understand the end goals. Spotlight’s platform with the new user story functionality merges the best of both worlds: a productive team collaboration platform and a centralized area to communicate user stories. This will help alleviate those communication challenges that come with trying to pass user stories along via email or on a conference call.
The user story allows for the development team to be creative in designing the product. Clients give a basic outline of the needed functionality and the designers and developers can run with it. This lets the development team create the product in a way that works on all platforms and is easy to integrate.
Faster and cheaper
Client user stories help development teams better estimate the development roadmap needed to complete the project. More accurate estimates and roadmaps lead to quicker development and faster delivery times, hence a cheaper project. Developing quality user stories through the project can help improve the project’s overall ROI by expediting the delivery process.
User stories help keep the client and development team on the same page for the requirements of the project. This leads to more productive collaboration between the parties to make the delivery process more efficient. Look for this improved project efficiency in Spotlight soon as we release user stories!
Seth Weedin (email@example.com) is the Director of Marketing at Spotlight Software.