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Janet Gregory: Agile Consultant, Trainer, Advisor, Writer, Speaker

Book Review: 50 Quick Ideas to Improve your User Stories by Gojko Adzic

In my opinion, this is a much needed book. I spend a lot of my time talking about testability of stories, and Gojko and David have given us many ideas about making our user stories more testable.

There are 5 sections: Creating Stories, Planning with Stories, Discussing Stories, Splitting Stories, and Managing Iterative Delivery, with 8 – 11 ideas to try in each section. Each idea is nicely put into a two page spread with a little about the idea, the benefits and then concrete suggestions how to make it work. I started reading an electronic copy, but enjoyed the hard copy so much more because of the format.

I found myself skipping some of the “how to’s” because it wasn’t something I needed right now. Not all ideas will resonate with everyone, but I know that many of the teams I work with could benefit from the book since stories seem to be what they struggle with most. Testability is tightly integrated into how stories are created and managed, so it is often a good use of time to get the stories better.

I suggest reading quickly through them all, and deciding which idea(s) might give you the most help to start. For example, if you find your team is struggling with not having a common goal, or perhaps not understanding why you are building a feature, you might want to start with Impact Mapping. Or if you consistently miss pieces of a feature, try Story Mapping. Both of these ideas are in Planning with Stories.

I think all teams will find many ideas to help them make their stories better. In turn, this helps teams deliver features that help their customers.


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