3C model for the social aspect of user-stories

3C model - user story
3C model - user story

I propose you today a small article of agile culture to know what is the 3C model for user-stories that we still meet from time to time. We meet sometimes this term.

Origin of the term “3C model”

This term is at the origin of Ron Jeffries who wanted to distinguish the social side of user-stories from the documentation side in 2001. Indeed, we must not forget that a user-story doesn’t have only the documentation side of interesting but it brings a way of doing essential to its maturation.

What do these 3Cs mean?

The 3C is actually the grouping of 3 essential terms: “card”, “conversation” and “confirmation”. We will see together what is more precisely these 3 terms.

3C model: Card

The card is the old representation of requests from Kanban; a post’it is the updated use of kanban cards that perfectly matches this visual representation.

The philosophical idea beyond the visual management is to have a request that doesn’t change when it is taken by developers; when we have written on a physical card, we will not be able to change its content.

In addition, the request must be simple and described in a few words because the cards (or post’it) don’t have the capacity to contain thousands of lines.

3C model: Conversation

User-stories are the result of several conversations that take place at different times; without its discussions, the user-stories wouldn’t have the functional quality that they are required to have.

We will ask our key users, our potential end customers or even our stakeholders to know the need and formulate it.

And we will also ask our prospective testers and our developers if the user-stories are clear and understandable.

We will also be able to have real feedbacks at different times of all the actors in order to be continually improving our backlog.

3C model: Confirmation

We will take advantage of the conversations to have a formal and concrete version of what each user-stories will be; the cards will be the confirmation of each request.

Each card is a goal to be achieved, formalized in a few simple words.

Conclusion 3C model

If the 3C model doesn’t describe the documentary aspect of user-stories, it recalls the social aspect of them; it is an aspect that is often forgotten but that deserves to be recalled regularly.

Contrary to a large set of specifications that can be found in old working methodologies as the V Model, all the actors of this project regularly intervene on the user-stories.


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About Judicaël Paquet 190 Articles
Judicaël Paquet (agile coach and senior devops) My activities in France and Switzerland: - agile transformation architect - customized agile training - sensitization and manager coaching - agile maturity audits and situations - agile coaching (teams, orga, product owner, scrum master, agile coach) Specialties: scrum, kanban, management 3.0, scalability, lean startup, agile method.

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