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The Value of Storytelling: The Benefits of User Stories

Working Together
custom web development, agile development

Do you really understand the overall purpose of your project? Asking questions about the big picture helps create the user stories that will guide the entire development process.

What outcome is the user expecting? What is the call to action? What expectations do users have? If you get hung up on the particular design and development of a specific feature, it may not fit in with the overall project, and you run the risk of creating a siloed software solution. Creating an individual user story should not be done in a vacuum. Both client and developer need to be invested in the vision of the project and understand the full scope. When the whole team has clarity around the big picture/workflow, they are better prepped to clearly understand how each feature should be created, as well as how that connects to the overall project development. As an added bonus, there is a built-in sense of ownership and accomplishment once the story is complete.

Many times, user stories are just too simplistic and the benefit (or the why) sometimes gets dropped from it altogether. For example, if you don’t know that the bank manager from our previous post was trying to save time, you could end up building a scheduling system with multiple steps instead of a taking a simpler, more straightforward approach.  

A common example of an overly simplistic user story is, “As a project manager, I need analytics.” This does not capture why analytics are valuable for the end user or how they might be used. Defining why helps developers deliver the benefit by prioritizing features and building based on actual usage of the software. Likewise, developers often write stories just so the work is accounted for. These types of stories are limiting because they are not focused on the end-user benefit but are more concerned with the features and technical implementation.

At Provisio, we work closely with clients to develop user stories that both encompass the overall goal of the project and that guide the workflow. This enables us to maintain the integrity of your project vision while making sure the features and solutions we build align with your business goals.