I often get and see questions on internet forums related to helping someone slice their User Stories or Product Backlog Items. This can be very difficult to do, because the slicing conversation really requires so much context around the parties/teams involved, the nature of the business domain, and the technical structure of the system under development. Due to this complexity, this is why I always recommend that Product Owners and Development teams do slicing together in Product Backlog Grooming sessions.
Another problem with trying to provide the needed context to give good advice is that most people work at organizations that have some sort of information security policy that would be violated by providing enough context.
The best route that I’ve seen is trying to come up with a fictional story/PBI/context that demonstrates the key challenge that you’re having without improperly offering too much confidential information.
Another approach would be to have you and your team try Richard Lawrence’s User Story Splitting flow chart.
Anyway, I wish you well, and think about trying some of the suggestions above!
Other Good User Story Links
- User Stories article on Agile Atlas (New! March 2013 – I co-wrote this one — great article if I do say so myself!)
- A User Story Checklist
- User Story Basics – The Longer Story
- To see what User Story Traps cause a lot of pain on teams, see User Story Traps
- To see how to make sure your stories are “ready” for implementation, check out Roman Pichler’s article, The Definition of Ready
- To see more info on creating Acceptance Tests, see my Presentation – Story Testing Patterns
- To see how well your team is implementing the User Story practice, see the The Bradley User Story Maturity Model
- To see more information on grooming user stories, see:
- Ron Jeffries’ article: Essential XP: Card, Conversation, Confirmation
- The best book on the subject of User Stories, IMO, is Mike Cohn’s User Stories Applied.
- I wrote a skit for a presentation I did at MileHighAgile 2011 that demonstrates a team doing Product Backlog Grooming for a User Story. In the skit, backlog grooming is covered pretty well, with the one exception that estimation was not covered in the skit. You can read the script of the skit here:
- For good advice on how to split User Stories, see Richard Lawrence’s Story Splitting Flow Chart.
- For a good article on why to split User Stories, see Mark Levison’s Story Splitting, How Small is Enough?
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