Agile Book Club: User Stories (with Bill Wake)

User stories. Possibly more ink has been spilled on this topic than any other aspect of Agile. In this session, we take a close look at user stories: how to create, split, and use them. We’re joined by Bill Wake, an agile coach who is known for the INVEST acronym for user stories, the Arrange-Act-Assert TDD pattern, and for articles at

📖 Stories

🎙 Discussion prompts:

  • As Alistair Cockburn says, stories are “promissory notes for future conversation.” And yet many organizations use stories as a form of documentation instead. What are the pros and cons of this approach?

  • The Connextra template for stories (“as an X I want Y so that Z”) has a lot of adherents. Do you have a preferred template? Why or why not?

  • Splitting stories so that they’re both small and customer-centric takes a lot of practice. What are your favorite techniques for splitting stories?

  • If you could magically change just one thing about the way organizations approach user stories, what would it be?

About the Book Club

From October 2021 to August 2022, I hosted a call-in talk show based on the second edition of The Art of Agile Development. The series used the book as a jumping-off point for wide-ranging discussions about Agile ideas and practices, and had a star-studded guest list.

For an archive of past sessions, visit the book club index. For more about the book, visit the Art of Agile Development home page.

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