AoAD2 Practice: Stories

This is an excerpt from The Art of Agile Development, Second Edition. Visit the Second Edition home page for additional excerpts and more!

This excerpt is copyright 2007, 2021 by James Shore and Shane Warden. Although you are welcome to share this link, do not distribute or republish the content without James Shore’s express written permission.


Whole Team

We plan our work in small, customer-centric pieces.

Stories may be the most misunderstood idea in all of Agile. They’re not requirements. They’re not use cases. They’re not even narratives. They’re much simpler than that.

Each story is a reminder to have a conversation.

Stories are for planning. They’re the playing pieces of the planning game. That’s it! Alistair Cockburn calls them “promissory notes for future conversation.” Each story is a reminder to talk about something the team needs to do. They’re written on index cards, or the virtual equivalent, so you can pick them up, move them around, and talk about how they fit into your plan.

Whole Team
Team Room

Because stories are just a reminder to have a conversation, they don’t need to be detailed. In fact, detailed stories are a sign that people are missing the point. You’re supposed to have a whole team, a team room, and talk together regularly. The story is the reminder. A way of sparking conversations about the details.

Although stories are supposed to be brief, it’s okay to add additional notes when it’s helpful. If there’s something important you want to remember, or a technical detail that you need keep track of, go ahead and jot it down. Just don’t feel obligated to add more detail. The card isn’t meant to be a requirements document. Just a reminder. continue reading, buy the book!

In this Section

  1. Stories
    1. Cargo Cult: Writers’ Workshop
    2. How to Create a Story
    3. Customer Value
    4. Splitting and Combining Stories
      1. Tiny stories
    5. Special Stories
      1. Documentation stories
      2. Bug stories
      3. “Nonfunctional” stories
      4. Operation and security stories
      5. Spike stories
      6. Clean-up stories
      7. Meetings and overhead
      8. Architecture, design, technical infrastructure
    6. Questions
    7. Prerequisites
    8. Indicators
    9. Alternatives and Experiments

Discuss the book on the AoAD2 mailing list or Discord server. Or come to the weekly book club!

For more excerpts from the book, see the Second Edition home page.

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