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January 4, 2022

What is a User Story?

Engaging with your audience is one of the most important aspects of creating products, because users will determine its success. Therefore, you need to understand how users will interact with your application. To better understand this, there is User Story.

User story is a description of product features in simple language, written from the user's point of view. It helps to understand what benefit the application functionality will bring to the client, even at the stage of project analytics. User stories serve as a kind of context for developers: they understand what the end user wants from the product, and they work more purposefully. These stories consist of several sentences and do not go into details: they reflect the essence and focus on the main thing.

What is the User Story used for?

User stories help focus on the user's needs: how will they use the app? What does one expect from the product? How will you behave in a given situation? Thus, answering these questions will help product creators solve real customer problems. Here are some of the main tasks for which you need to use User Stories:

- Organize work. When a project is broken down into user story chunks, each of them presents a coherent and understandable task. So you can focus on each of them and get measurable results.

- Keep the focus on the user. Of course, development involves dozens of complex tasks related to technical, financial and other issues. However, the user story is a constant reminder of the team about those for whom this product is being created, and directs their work in the right direction. Who is the user of your application and how can you be useful? Answering these questions will help you craft a quality user story.

- Find fresh solutions, come up with the most pleasant and interesting way to solve the user's problem. This often leads to the emergence of new interesting ideas and their implementation. The result is a useful and unique product.

Your user story will be unique, so you can create your own unique way of telling it. However, there are standard elements of creating a user story that will that will help you to “read the user's mind” as much as possible and understand their way of thinking. These elements include: 

Title (short description of the story)

Story wording:

I (role)  want (functional) in order to (benefit)

Once you understand the basic behavior patterns of end users, you need to describe their actions in more detail. How will they order food in your app? What will they look for on the university website? What are the criteria for looking for a doctor? Build on what you have and try to represent user behavior as accurately as possible.

With User Stories, you can start building your product more deliberately. Formulating functional requirements will become easier, you will already see the end result, and it will be easier to achieve it with this understanding.

INVEST writing criteria for User Story

Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out which of the developed user stories are right for you and how to write a user story. To resolve this issue, you can use the INVEST criteria. It is an abbreviation that consists of the most important components of a successful user story. Let's dwell on these criteria in more detail.

I - Independent. A particular story should not be influenced by other stories - or only minimally. This allows you to work through each of them without waiting for any other story to finish.

N - Negotiable. In other words, the user story needs to be discussed in detail and an optimal solution must be found. At the same time, the story should be succinct and concise, reflecting its main idea. 

V - Valuable. This is a fairly simple and straightforward point: the user story must be valuable, and the described functionality must be of benefit to the business.

E - Estimable. You should be able to evaluate the story: calculate the resources needed to work on it, determine the timeline for implementation, and set the criteria for success.

S - Small. User stories don't have to describe all the functionality of the product - focus on a specific, narrow task. This will help you implement the story in a short iteration and move quickly on the project.

T - Testable. To write user stories, you should be able to test them - to understand how much users need them, what are the shortcomings, how the stories could be changed. This will help you get feedback from your audience and bring your product to perfection. 

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