User stories are a common practice in Agile but what are they and why do we use them? Read about my experience here, plus if you get to the end there is a useful story writing handout.
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Last year, prior to Toni and I joining Radtac, our colleague and Head of Training Alex Gray wrote a blog about “How to Prioritise Using Mince Pies”, which you can view here before reading on. So, inspired by the previous year, we went on to maintain this new-found tradition while also learning more about prioritisation ourselves.
Now don’t get me wrong, the M&S Star Mince pies were good but they were not quite what we had hoped for from Marks & Spencer. Which is why they ended up getting what would turn out to be an only slightly below average score, especially let down by the pastry and price. However, this gave us a benchmark for the rest of the pies to live up to, or hopefully exceed.
Before ending this year and moving towards the new, exciting challenges that we hope 2017 will bring, we’d like to take a look back at an important 2016 milestone for us: our website redesign.
Why is it an important milestone? Well, firstly, because we wanted to make our website more friendly for you. We wanted you to find quicker what you’re looking for, to browse through the content more easily, and to have a pleasant experience when using our website.
Second, as with any Agile approach where you inspect and adapt your work, we wanted to make sure our website reflects our beliefs, our brand and our identity. This is why we have turned to Brand it Guru (BiG), a creative, London-based agency of ‘Gurus’ that we have worked with in the past. The team at BiG have known us for a while now, and were ideally placed to help us communicate our message in the best possible visual way.
I love mince pies. FACT.
It was a day in late November, and I was catching the late train home after a long day in the office. I needed a drink, so I went to the food and drink place in St Pancras International. I asked for my coffee, and was offered a Mince Pie for an extra £1. Ooh that’s a good offer, I thought, so I said ‘Okay’.
Whilst sitting on the train I sipped my drink and devoured my Mince Pie. The coffee was good, but the mince pie was average at best. Especially for a £1, I thought. Perhaps it wasn't such a good deal!
So I posted a picture of my pie to our Slack channel, and jokingly gave it a score of 6 out of 10. Our Slack channel went berserk with ‘You’ve had a mince pie - why have you scored it?’ ‘OMG you scored it’ etc. And I thought, well yes, I have had a mince pie, and yes I have scored it... I wonder how others compare, and I wonder which one is best!
And that is where it all started.
This blog post will explain what Agile Requirements are, and guide you through writing and using User Stories.
What are Agile Requirements?
As we cannot possibly know all requirements of our products at their inception, it is futile to spend time creating a detailed Requirements Specification Document upfront. Instead, we should use Agile Requirements.
Agile Requirements are requirements that are allowed to, in fact encouraged, to evolve over the lifetime of a product. We are learning more and more about our product during its development through feedback from Customers, Users, Stakeholders and Developers. Using this feedback, we can regularly choose to add requirements, remove requirements, add more details to requirements, change their priority, and so on, to make sure our Agile requirements will deliver the most value to the business as soon as possible.
This is Radtac’s first Guest Blog and we are delighted that it is from the NHS Choices team and specifically Joe McGrath.
In providing the impetus to change and transformation programmes, Radtac has developed a generic focus tool called the “Three Wall Workshop” (TWW). This is focussed on the general principles of Vision (Why), Strategy (How) and Tactics (What).
The TWW is to be used where there are needs for team development, project management, product delivery, visioning and strategic planning to name a few situations. The principles of TWW are to reverse common thinking within organisations, the TWW approach focusses on people and their need for a clear ‘Why’ they doing what they are doing, rather than ‘What’ they are doing.