So a user story describes what the user wants to achieve.

I use trello, here is how I would do it:

Epic - Create a home page Story (Trello Card) - 'As a user I want to see sliding images on the top of the page' Tasks (A checklist) - list of technical tasks needed to achieve that story.

  • Get images
  • Integrate JQuery plugin which is a carousel
  • Import images into the carousel
  • Test

Now what if the problem at this stage is if the development team has not got the skills to do that story. Before they can do it, they need to learn HTML/JQuery/CSS???

Currently to handle this, I would create a Trello card.

"Learning phase"


  • Learn HTML
  • Learn CSS
  • Learn JQUERY

This is NOT a user story, but I put this into the sprint.

How do you handle this?


3 Answers 3


Generally, speaking of course you can have learning tasks, and you should have them, but putting them into Scrum context is tricky.

A user story comes from the PO, and the result is a a deliverable. A learning task does not have these properties; a PO is not interested in learning tasks, they are hard to time box, and the deliverable in this context is highly opinionated.

There are "technical user stories" which usually take 1-2 days, and POs are fine with them. Html, css, and jquery is not something one learns in days. This reminds me an unspoken rule of project management: do not start a project if you don't have the resources. I'm afraid, you don't have the resources.

My recommendation is to put the project or whatever you have on hold for a week, and tell the developers that they have this time to get familiar with the technology stack during the week. The point is to get familiar with, and be able to start working on user stories. Some people call this "Sprint 0".

  • In an ideal world, and I agree, if we do not have the resources there is no point in starting the project. At the same time, if you have a dev team, it is not that difficult to train a dev up in parallel to doing the task. A lot are developers learn on the job.
    – bobo2000
    Nov 16, 2015 at 12:03
  • Yes, that often happens, but learning means improving an existing knowledge in a certain field. You are talking about the whole web stack, and without any experienced developer you may have a product eventually, but you will face a huge maintenance cost.
    – Zsolt
    Nov 16, 2015 at 13:43

First of all, I would like to refer you to mike Cohen blog about user stories : https://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/agile/user-stories

A user story should follow : As a , I want so that and also add acceptance criteria if needed.

The developers will as a team create all related tasks to implement the user story, among the tasks for example: Learn how to use jQuery slider...so on


That's a good question and I'd say it is less about Trello and more about how you are splitting your stories and showing them on the board.

There are several ways to use a board and to represent work there. So for my answer I'll use assume (based on the text of your question) you don't want to change the format:

  1. A card represents something that is pottentially delivering value and it is written using the format "As a ..."
  2. Inside the card there is a list of tasks showing needed for the complition of the work related

Also assuming that you don't have the time to freeze the project, making the learning phase part of your everyday work, my suggestion would be:

  • Break your stories in very tiny pieces so people can learn and exercise new knowledge on real solutions;
  • Try to avoid long lists inside the cards. If this is happening, it means your stories are too big;
  • List inside the card your learning tasks (like "Learn HTML") but break it in small subjects (like "Learn about tables in HTML") and timebox it somehow. Give people a number of hours or days for the "reading/watching videos/spiking" part, but stick to the plan of delivering a small amount of work;

However, if you can change how you are writting your cards, I'd suggest that you use your board in a way that you can have different card types. Some of them would be stories, some would be something like a "learning card". That would give your team and your stakeholders more visibility on what's happening. But please, don't forget to timebox this kind of card and to always try to keep it small. "Learn JQUERY" can take a lot of time and you probably don't need an expert to start delivering software.

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