Death by user stories

10–12th May 2017 at thestudio

A 45 minute Case Study by:

Jenny Martin

Collaborate Solutions

Slides from session

The slides used for this session are available to download from here.

About this Case Study

As an overwhelmed cross-functional team member
In order to deliver business value as early as possible
I need 6589 disembodied user stories sitting in a backlog in Jira
Like I need a hole in the head.

Are user stories actually helpful? Or are they doing us harm? Have we wandered away from their intended use?

User stories are dangerous.

This session will start by exploring the different ways that user stories can kill your project. But if they're so dangerous, why do we use them? What is a user story and what's good about them anyway?

It's approaching 20 years now since iterative development teams started using user stories to capture customer needs, but many teams are still struggling to achieve the benefits of them.

We only get value out of iterative delivery practices if we are always working on the most important thing. We need to be able to defer detailed examination of stuff that isn't important until later. The only way to avoid a slow and untimely death is to stay on the safe path to value.

In this session I'd like to introduce the OOPSI model for agile analysis. OOPSI stands for Outcome, Output, Process, Scenarios, Inputs. It's based on Chris Matts' feature injection and is a useful model to help add more convergent thinking to our software delivery practices. The OOPSI technique helps us structure our discovery activities so that we are always working on the right thing and can see the bigger picture. It gives us a narrative and context for our analysis artefacts and the examples, tests and scenarios that support them.

OOPSI is an outside-in process. We start with the outcomes (the value), and expertly navigate the quickest path to achieving those outcomes. We might even be able to do this without writing a single user story (but shhhhhhhh! - don't tell anyone I said that!).

About the Speaker

Jenny Martin is a consultant, trainer, facilitator and coach specialising in agile delivery, quality improvement and innovation games.

She believes that great teams are built on collaboration, shared responsibility and by embracing individuality and diversity.

She has 20 years' experience across multiple platforms, tools and technologies in disciplines spanning the entire software development lifecycle and a demonstrable track record of delivering complex IT systems in the customer loyalty, retail and finance sectors.

Jenny is a frequent speaker at agile testing and BDD events, and provides training in collaborative software development techniques and public speaking.


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