Candidate user stories

For any project to succeed communication is key, this is especially true on scrum based projects.

If the communication is not working properly it will impact the teams velocity, as developers will often spend more time trying to determine what needs done rather than actually doing.

We have two scrum teams at present with a third one starting up shortly, so it is vitally important they have a high level understanding of how the product is shaping up. Imagine having several teams of builders working on different parts of a development.  If they don’t understand the overall bigger picture they won’t be able to determine potential issues as they go through the build and also make the correct calls when they do encounter issues.  The same applies to creating a product.

So in order to help all teams understand the bigger picture, I do a little prep and print out the wireframes for the user journeys they are currently working on, stick them up around the walls, and then circle the various areas on the wireframes, such as buttons, that the different candidate user stories will touch. I’ll also place the user story ID against the circled area.  At Sprint Kick off I’ll run through the candidate stories describing exactly where they fit into the user journey.  The teams ask as many questions they like in order to help them story point.

The stories I talk about are only candidates at this stage because the teams have made no commitment to what they will deliver during the next sprint, this comes later on. To be a candidate story it must have reached the correct level of maturity and also be of high value to the business .i.e. at the top of the backlog.

Post the kick off I have seen the business analysts and developers around the print outs.  The wireframes being up on the walls also help with discussions during the sprint and means everyone has a common understanding of what is being delivered by the various stories and where the stories fit into the various user journeys.

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