Recently I was teaching my User Story Workshop when I commented to the class that in our first exercise at least one person would not follow the directions. I asked the class to write a user story to display the temperature on an iPhone app that we were using as an example. Seems like a pretty easy task. I had additionally instructed the class to ensure that they picked a specific person or persona to use as the user, not just say, “As a user, I want…”
An example of a proper user story would have been something such as, “As a mom, I want to know the current temperature so that I can dress my children for school.” Since I had used that as an example, one person copied me exactly. Although technically correct, you get low marks for creativity. One person started with, “As a user I want…” which is something I had specifically forbidden. Strike one. Another person said, “As a mom, I want to know the forecast…” Strike two. What is a forecast? I asked for current temperature. I really need to start the class with a bet. I would win every time.
Given that this happens in every class, one begins to wonder how that affects teams in general. Who is paying attention during stand-up? Is everyone awake during sprint planning? Obviously the answer is no. As an agile coach, one must recognize that no one has 100% attention, so it’s imperative that we repeat items, validate understanding, and give people the opportunity to ask questions without embarrassment. In some company cultures, people have a hard time shutting their laptops, a situation that is made worse when using an online planning tool such as Version One. Well, it’s Version One when I’m standing behind you. The rest of the time it’s Facebook.
For your own team’s User Story Workshop, contact John Mulligan at firstname.lastname@example.org