May 11, 2023 | 2 min read

How to Write a User Story: Focus on the What

By: Steven Woodward

How to Write a User Story: Focus on the What

In agile development, user stories are vital for communicating between developers, product owners and clients. A user story is typically a short, simple description of a feature or functionality that meets the needs of the user or client. It is used to help developers understand what the user wants and what the client needs, leading to better software development. Here are some tips on how to write a compelling user story.

What Over How

When creating a user story, it is essential to focus on the “what” rather than the “how,” which means that the user story should describe what the user wants to achieve rather than how to achieve it. Focusing on the “what” and not the “how” allows more flexibility and creativity in the development process and enables developers to produce a variety of solutions to solve the users’ needs without being limited by the initial user story.

Identify User Needs

The first step in writing a user story is identifying the user and their needs, including researching and understanding their needs, desires, and pain points. The next step is to briefly describing what the user wants to achieve in plain, simple language that anyone can understand.

For example, a user story for an e-commerce website could be: “As a user, I want to be able to easily find and compare products before purchasing so that I can make an informed decision.”

Review and Refine

Once the user story is written, it should be reviewed and refined to ensure it meets the user’s needs and is clear and concise. This process may involve consulting with the client, development team, or other subject matter experts to ensure that the user story accurately represents the user’s needs.

When writing a user story in agile development, it is important to focus on the “what” rather than the “how.” Doing so allows for more flexibility and creativity in the development process, leading to a better software solution that meets the users’ needs. When the development team regularly reviews and refines user stories, they can ensure that the software project is successful!

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