Am new to Agile and need some help in identifies user stories for a given feature. The feature is "application should generate a delimiter space file which the fields given in the field specification document. First file will be a full feed, followed by incremental feed on weekly basis. each file has a file naming format"

for this requirement, how do i come up with user stories? I want to split user stories in a way that each story is either 3 or 5 storypoints which is a testable entry.

plz help me with high level user stories that i should come up with?


  • 2
    Why do you need a user story? They aren't required, unless it's by your organizational processes (which I'd also question - it's useful for some requirements, but not all). If you decide to go forward with your user story, who (what user class or persona) uses these feed files and what benefit do they obtain from having them? Finally, why do you want to constrain your user stories to such a small point scale? A story should be an independently designable, buildable, testable, and releasable piece of functionality. Some stories require more effort to achieve that than others. – Thomas Owens Nov 6 '17 at 15:35
  • without userstory how do i do it in agile system? – user1447718 Nov 7 '17 at 4:09
  • 1
    Any way you want to? Most agile methodologies that I'm familiar with (Scrum, Nexus, Disciplined Agile Delivery, LeSS, SAFe) don't require requirements to be expressed as user stories. User Stories come from Extreme Programming. They may be helpful in other methodologies to keep the focus on the users of the system under construction, but they aren't the only way to capture requirements. Scrum simply refers to "Product Backlog Items" which have "the attributes of a description, order, estimate and value" -- nothing about how to specify that description. – Thomas Owens Nov 7 '17 at 10:34
  • I'm not sure why all the close votes. There are many good practices around splitting backlog items that may apply to different circumstances but are not opinion-based. – Daniel Nov 7 '17 at 19:56

There are two questions here: how can we represent this in a user story and how do I break it up? Because nothing in agile or scrum forces us to use user stories (unless you're practicing XP specifically) let's start with the second question.

Splitting Backlog Items

We always want to try to deliver either customer value or at least proven knowledge value with each increment of the product. I don't know anything about your system, but at first glance, it seems like the weekly report is the full report with some extra filtering and care to make sure nothing gets missed, so there would be the first split.

Assuming that the full report is too big, we can focus on validating knowledge in two ways:

1) if this file needs to be imported somewhere, have it build a fake file that the importing system successfully accepts. This proves out that you've got the structure right and then you just have to plug data in.

2) Look for subsets of fields that can be added to the file with the other fields either blank or hard-coded, again to show that the pieces you are adding are working fine. You probably won't release this to production, but you can show users these pieces of data to make sure it's what they are looking for and you may catch data quality and integration problems in the process.

Depending on the circumstances of your system, you may have backlog items around performance as well.

User Stories

A user story expresses a need or a problem that a real user is having. For example:

As a front-desk clerk, I need warehouse inventory levels to refresh to my local store at least once per week so that I know what is available to sell.

That could be a comma-delimited file, a web service, or a dozen other perfectly reasonable solutions. The potential advantage this gives me is that I can more easily deliver pieces of the need. For example, maybe I've got 20 data sources that need to flow into this update, but two of them contain our fastest-selling products. Well, I now know that there is huge value in delivering an update with just those two data sources.

It isn't impossible to go from having a detailed solution in place to a user story - you just have to pretend you don't have a solution in mind, write a user story that speaks to the need, then don't tell anyone the solution you were thinking of so you don't anchor them. Of course, I've never seen someone actually do that, so my recommendation in this situation is usually to keep using what you have already - it isn't a user story, but don't worry too much about that, then practice with user stories on the next thing before coming up with the solution.

  • so are you saying that we don't need userstories for this? my biz has already created a user story for this citing the requirement. but this cannot be completed in a 15 day sprint. so am planning to change it to a feature and break the stories for each sprint. both the comments say that we dont need user story, am not sure how to do these without user story? plz clarify. – user1447718 Nov 7 '17 at 4:05
  • @user1447718: A user story is a specific form of a requirement, with the structure "As an X, I want Y so that Z". There are dozens of other ways to write down requirements that are not user stories. I would recommend you first focus on splitting the existing story into smaller work items that each provide some value to the relevant stakeholders. If your tooling doesn't support other low-level requirements than user stories, then by all means label your new requirements as user stories. Just remember that they are not "real" user stories unless they follow the prescribed format. – Bart van Ingen Schenau Nov 7 '17 at 11:35
  • Yes, what Bart said. What you have is not really a user story and I wanted to point that out because in the future, you may get a lot of benefit from user stories over more requirement-like backlog items. That said, breaking down what you have with some of the ways I've mentioned is probably the best way to solve your short-term problem. – Daniel Nov 7 '17 at 19:54

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