User Story Format – with example

user story format
user story format

Are you looking for how to write your user-stories? Which user story format use  in your project? This article will explain you how to do and give you a lot of recommendations.

User Story Format

In reality, it doesn’t exist a complete user story format to respect. Why? Because the user story format will depend of your product and the needs around it. But the first time is not so easy; So let’s look how to do together with this article.

First, the user story is a maturation of an epic; indeed, an epic is not a group of user stories. And epics come from initiatives. I like this picture from Atlassian that it explains well this hierarchy:

initiatives / epics / user stories
initiatives / epics / user stories – user story format

So, we will split an epic in some stories if necessary; for example:

epic: product page

story 1: display the product sheet
story 2: rate the product
and story 3: comment the product

But we talk about “user-story” and not just “story”, because we want to focus this product backlog item on users. So for that, there is a very popular user story format :

As a < type of user >, 
I want < some goal > 
so that < some reason >.

Some people purpose others templates that we can see in this blog in the future.

So, here are the outcome for our stories if we use this user story format to focus the story on users:

user-story 1: As a customer, I want to look at the product sheet so that I have some informations about the product
user-story 2: As a customer, I want to rate the product so that I give my impression to the others customers
and user-story 3: As a customer, I want to ask post a comment on the product sheet so that I ask my question about the product

As you can see, it’s not difficult. Just a little recommendation: try to target the good user.

That’s enough for the development team? NO…

The management rules

In your user story, the development team need to have more informations about the request. If the development team really want to develop exactly the request, it needs more details about the demand. In the project management, we call this kind of informations: management rules!

Some team use the story A4 like a user story format. It’s a simple user story format to write all your user stories. This format purpose to write the management rules in the simple form. Fell free to read our article about story 4.

story A4
story A4 – user story format

Testing in our User Story Format

It’s really important that your user story format have everything so that the team can test each user story. Some people think that the management rules are sufficient for the testing and some people think that it’s not enough.

So more an more teams use the acceptance test to write their test; they use the gherkin format like inside the story A4 format.

Here is an example of the test write in gherkin language:

Scenario: add a product on my cart

Given I am on my cart
And that I have a product of id “1234” in quantity “1”
And the remaining stock on this product is “0”
When I add “1” quantity to my product
Then my cart will show an error

Given I am on my cart
And that I have a product of id “1235” in quantity “1”
And the remaining stock on this product is “10”
When I add “1” quantity of my product
So my product will have “2” quantities

This kind of doing is very interesting because all the behaviors expected are clear for the development team. And you have more chances that the team really tests well all the management rules like that.

Don’t forget: each team have to create the more adapted user story format!

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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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