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SCRUM- Who should write a user story

Traditionally user stories (or requirements) were written by Business analysts. They used to prepare big documents after months of study. It was a herculean task. I used to get such UI/Functional specification documents. I have fixed a lot of bugs because I missed few text in such 1000 + pages document. This is not the only interesting part. Some of the requirements were so weird that I often wondered why I am creating the features which no one is going to use. If I had the option I would have recommended a better option. If the BA’s misunderstood some requirements & customers failed to correct those few words in the epic requirement then we will have a nice situation.

In the agile world the story is different. Product Owners are primarily responsible for user stories. But can anyone else also contribute? Yes. Definitely yes
In actual environment many users write user stories. The first requirement may come from end user. The PO, tech architect, scrum master, BA’s... anyone can update this but ultimately it is the PO who is responsible for the backlog.
User stories should be written in a non -technical manner from the perspective of an end user
e.g.
As an x user I should be able to xyz actions.

This user story will be further sliced. The PO (or story writer) shouldn’t spend months is defining the backlog. After fine tuning the stories to an extent this should be put to review to the scrum team. The entire scrum team should work on these stories to understand it perfectly. Any technical constraints /limitations should be noted down & presented to customer. Scrum emphasizes this team work. It’s better to have 5 brains working together than one. The most important section out of these discussions/workshops will be the condition of acceptance (COA’s). Generally these COA’s are not technical. NFR’s can be added as constraints to these conditions.

Comments

Anujith said…
Yes, PO and team can work together to fine tune user story. But can it be made part of a time boxed sprint activity, like the team analyzing the initial requirements on a sprint, and provide the results on sprint review (can be either verbal or documented or prototype). This can help both the team and PO to have better understanding of the requirements. Whats your take on it?

Anujith
Usually it happens like this only. PO provides few details about the upcoming story. Team asks for a timebox during which they do some sort of spike/exploration work to understand the feature (both technically and feature wise). The result of this spike is presented during sprint review. Consider documenting the findings if someone has to refer this in future. This spike work usually improves the knowledge of team & PO.
Queries are sent to the customers if their opinion is required. Personally I have seen some good suggestions coming up which even the customer didn’t think of & certain other situations we had to educate the customers about the risks involved in implementing the feature. This collaboration resulted in good knowledge and helped the PO to create a better story which the team understands perfectly with the single aim to provide better service/application to customer increasing their ROI. 

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