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User stories are used with Agile software development methodologies as the basis for defining the functions a business system must provide, and to facilitate requirements management. It captures the 'who', 'what' and 'why' of a requirement in a simple, concise way, often limited in detail by what can be hand-written on a small paper notecard

From the Wikipedia article on User story:

In software development and product management, a user story is one or more sentences in the everyday or business language of the end user or user of a system that captures what a user does or needs to do as part of his or her job function.

User stories are used with software development methodologies as the basis for defining the functions a business system must provide, and to facilitate requirements management. It captures the 'who', 'what' and 'why' of a requirement in a simple, concise way, often limited in detail by what can be hand-written on a small paper notecard.

User stories are written by or for the business user as that user's primary way to influence the functionality of the system being developed. User stories may also be written by developers to express non-functional requirements (security, performance, quality, etc.), though primarily it is the task of a product manager to ensure user stories are captured.

User stories are a quick way of handling customer requirements without having to create formalized requirement documents and without performing administrative tasks related to maintaining them. The intention of the user story is to be able to respond faster and with less overhead to rapidly changing real-world requirements.

User stories templates

User stories generally follow the following template:

"As a <role>, I want <goal/desire> so that <benefit>"

but the shorter version is commonly used as well:

"As a <role>, I want <goal/desire>"

Some practitioners place the benefit at the front, in order to keep the benefit at the forefront:

"In order to <receive benefit> as a <role>, I want <goal/desire>"

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