We have an existing system in production, developed using a "chaotic" development process. I'm trying to introduce Scrum for all new development: new features, improvements, and bugs.

For new features, I believe the "As a <user>, I want <something> so that <goal>" user story template is the best option.

For bugs, "What I did", "What happened", "What I expected to happen" is the best format IMHO.

My question is: What format should I use for Product Backlog Items (PBIs) representing improvements to existing features? (edited for clarification)

  • 3
    Agile methodologies are iterative, and work is work. How do you think “new features” are different from “improvements to existing features”?
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Feb 26, 2018 at 18:21
  • Correct me if I am mistaken. This reads more like, "What format should I impose for this third category of work?" than a question regarding handling improvement requests. Feb 26, 2018 at 23:52

2 Answers 2


Embrace the self-organizing requirement of the Scrum framework and the communication focus of the agile principles by having a discussion with the Scrum Team to determine what format(s) might be most effective. If the business is also creating or reading these PBIs, then involve them as well. Value focus is extremely important, and the common user story format can help with that, but can be of low value if it is ritualistic in nature. See the original intent of user stories from eXtreme Programming.

Mr. Todd A. Jacobs' comment is great advice.

work is work. How do you think “new features” are different from “improvements to existing features”?


My answer has two parts:

  • One - for improvements suggested by the team mid-sprint, they should be added to the kanban board as stories and executed as part of the iteration assuming they are part of the current scope of improvements.
  • Two - for improvement requests from outside the team, they should be routed to the product owner, or the product owner team. Then the product owner can determine what to do with the idea (file away, work with the team to write stories for, rank in the backlog for an upcoming sprint).

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