Stories are short descriptions of a little piece of preferred use, written in the user’s language. Agile Teams implement small, vertical slices of device functionality and also are sized so they can be completed in a solitary Iteration.

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Stories are the major artireality used to define system habits in Agile. They are brief, basic descriptions of usability usually told from the user’s perspective and also written in their language. Each one is intfinished to allow the implementation of a tiny, vertical slice of mechanism behavior that supports incremental breakthrough.

Stories carry out simply enough information for both company and also technical world to understand also the intent. Details are deferred until the story is prepared to be applied. Thstormy acceptance criteria and also acceptance tests, stories gain more specific, helping to ensure system quality.

User stories provide functionality straight to the end user. Enabler stories bring visibility to the work-related items needed to assistance expedition, design, facilities, and also compliance.


SAFe’s Requirements Model explains a four-tier power structure of artifacts that outline sensible system behavior: Epic, Capcapacity, Feature, and also story. Collectively, they define all the work-related to create the solution’s intfinished actions. But the thorough implementation job-related is described with stories, which comprise the Team Backlog. Many stories arise from business and enabler functions in the Program Backlog, however others come from the team’s local conmessage.

Each story is a small, independent habits that can be imposed incrementally and also offers some value to the user or the Equipment. It’s a vertical slice of functionality to ensure that eexceptionally Iteration delivers brand-new worth. Stories are small and also need to be completed in a single iteration (view the separating stories section).

Often, stories are initially composed on an index card or sticky note. The physical nature of the card creates a tangible connection between the team, the story, and the user: it helps connect the entire team in story creating. Sticky notes sell various other benefits as well: they help visualize work and also have the right to be easily put on a wall surface or table, rearranged in sequence, and also passed off as soon as vital. Stories permit boosted knowledge of the scope and also progress:

“Wow, look at all these stories we are about to sign up for” (scope)“Look at all the stories we completed in this iteration” (progress)

While anyone have the right to compose stories, approving them into the team backlog and accepting them right into the mechanism baseline are the duty of the Product Owner. Of course, stickies don’t scale well throughout the Enterpincrease, so stories frequently relocate easily into Agile Lifecycle Management (ALM) tooling.

Tright here are two forms of stories in SAFe, user stories and also enabler stories, as explained below.

Sources of Stories

Stories are commonly driven by dividing company and enabler functions, as Figure 1 illustprices.

Figure 1. Example of a business feature separation right into stories

User Stories

User stories are the primary indicates of expressing needed functionality. They mainly rearea the conventional requirements specification. In some cases, yet, they serve as a means to define and also develop system behavior that’s later recorded in specifications that support compliance, carriers, tracecapacity, or various other demands.

Due to the fact that they emphasis on the user as the subject of interest, and not the system, user stories are worth and also customer-centric. To assistance this, the recommfinished develop of expression is the ‘user-voice form’, as follows:

As a (user role), I desire to (activity), so that (service value)

By using this format, the groups are guided to understand who is using the mechanism, what they are doing via it, and why they are doing it. Applying the ‘user voice’ format routinely has a tendency to boost the team’s domajor competence; they involved better understand also the genuine service needs of their user. Figure 2 offers an example.

Figure 2. Example user story in user voice form

As described in Deauthorize Thinking, personas describe particular characteristics of representative customers that aid groups better understand their end user. Example personas for the rider in Figure 2 can be a thrill-seeker ‘Jane’ and a timid rider ‘Bob’. Stories descriptions deserve to then reference these personas (As Jane I want…).

While the user story voice is the common instance, not eextremely system interacts via an end user. Sometimes the ‘user’ is a device (e.g., printer) or a system (e.g., transactivity server). In these instances, the story can take on the create portrayed in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Example of a user story with a ‘system’ as a user

Enabler Stories

Teams likewise build the brand-new architecture and facilities needed to implement brand-new user stories. In this situation, the story may not directly touch any kind of finish user. Teams use ‘enabler stories’ to assistance exploration, style, or framework. Enabler stories deserve to be expressed in technical quite than user-centric language, as Figure 4 illustprices.

Figure 4. Example enabler story

Tbelow are many various other types of Enabler stories including:

Building or improving development/deployment infrastructureRunning work that require huguy interaction (e.g., index 1 million web pages)Creating the compelled product or component configurations for various purposesVerification of mechanism features (e.g., performance and vulnerability testing)

Enabler stories are demonstrated just prefer user stories, commonly by mirroring the expertise got, artifacts produced, or the user interface, stub, or mock-up.

Writing Good Stories

Good stories require multiple perspectives. In agile, the entire team – Product Owner, developers, and also testers – create a shared knowledge of what to construct to alleviate rework-related and also increase throughput. Teams collaboprice using Behavior-Driven Advancement (BDD) to specify in-depth acceptance tests that definitively define each story. Good stories call for multiple perspectives:

Product Owners gives customer thinking for viability and also desirabilityDevelopers carry out technical feasibilityTesters carry out broad thinking for exceptions, edge instances, and also other unexpected ways individuals may communicate via system

Collaborative story creating ensures all perspectives are addressed and everyone agrees on the story’s habits with the outcomes represented in the story’s summary, acceptance criteria, and acceptance tests. The acceptance tests are composed making use of the system’s domajor language via Behavior-Driven Advancement (BDD). BDD tests are then automated and also run consistently to maintain Built-In Quality. The BDD tests are composed against mechanism needs (stories) and also therefore deserve to be used as the definitive statement for the system’s habits, replacing document-based specifications.

The 3Cs: Card, Conversation, Confirmation

Ron Jeffries, one of the inventors of XP, is credited through describing the 3Cs of a story:

Card – Captures the user story’s statement of intent utilizing an index card, sticky note, or tool. Index cards carry out a physical partnership between the team and the story. The card dimension physically limits story size and premature suggestions for the specificity of mechanism behavior. Cards additionally assist the team ‘feel’ upcoming scope, as there is something materially different around holding ten cards in one’s hand also versus looking at ten lines on a spreadsheet.Conversation – Represents a “promise for a conversation” about the story in between the team, customer (or the customer’s proxy), the PO (who may be representing the customer), and various other stakeholders. The conversation is vital to recognize even more detailed actions forced to implement the intent. The conversation may generate additional specificity in the develop of acceptance criteria (the confirmation below) or attachments to the user story. The conversation spans all procedures in the story life cycle:Backlog refinementPlanningImplementationDemo

These just-in-time discussions produce a mutual understanding of the scope that formal documentation cannot provide. Specification by instance relocations thorough documentation. Conversations additionally aid uncover gaps in user scenarios and also NFRs.

Confirmation – The acceptance criteria gives the indevelopment essential to ensure that the story is imposed correctly and also covers the appropriate functional and also NFRs. Figure 5 gives an example. Some teams regularly use the confirmation area of the story card to write down what they will demo.
Figure 5. Story acceptance criteria with BDD

Agile teams automate acceptance tests wherever before possible, frequently in business-readable, domain-particular language. Automation creates an executable specification to validay and also verify the solution. Automation additionally offers the capacity to quickly regression-test the mechanism, enhancing Continuous Integration, refactoring, and maintenance.

Investing in Good Stories

Agile groups spend a far-reaching amount of time finding out, elaborating, and understanding user stories and composing acceptance tests This is as it should be, because it represents the fact that:

Writing the code for an understood objective is not necessarily the hardest part of software program advancement,

quite it is knowledge what the actual objective for the code is. Therefore, investing in great user stories, albeit at the last responsible minute, is a worthy effort for the team. Bill Wake, coined the acronym INVEST <1>, to define the attributes of a great user story.

 I – Independent (among various other stories)N – Negotiable (a flexible statement of intent, not a contract)V – Valuable (offering a valuable vertical slice to the customer)E – Estimable (tiny and also negotiable)S – Small (fits within an iteration)T – Testable (interpreted sufficient to understand just how to test it)

Splitting Good Stories

Smaller stories allow quicker, even more trusted implementation, considering that small items flow with any kind of mechanism much faster, with much less varicapability, and lessened threat. As such, splitting bigger stories into smaller sized ones is a mandatory skill for eincredibly Agile team. It’s both the art and the scientific research of increpsychological advance. Ten ways to break-up stories are defined in Agile Software Requirements <1>. A summary of these methods follows:

Workcirculation stepsCompany dominion variationsMajor effortSimple/complexVariations in dataFile enattempt methodsDeferred system qualitiesOperations (ex., Create, Read, Upday, Delete )Use-instance scenariosBreak-out spike

Figure 6 illustprices an instance of dividing by use-case scenarios.

Figure 6. An example of splitting a large Story right into smaller stories

Note: A more comprehensive summary of user stories have the right to be discovered in the whitepaper, a User Story Primer, which you have the right to downfill right here.

Downpack User Story Primer

Estimating Stories

Agile groups use story points and also ‘estimating poker’ to value their job-related <1, 2>. A story suggest is a singular number that represents a combination of qualities:

Volume – How much is there?Complexity – How hard is it?Knowledge – What’s known?Uncertainty – What’s unknown?

Story points are family member, without a link to any particular unit of meacertain. The size (effort) of each story is approximated relative to the smallest story, which is assigned a size of ‘one.’ A modified Fibonacci sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40, 100) is applied that shows the natural uncertainty in estimating, specifically big numbers (e.g., 20, 40, 100) <2>.

Estimating Poker

Agile teams regularly use ‘estimating poker,’ which combines expert opinion, analogy, and disaggregation to develop quick but dependable approximates. Disaggregation refers to dividing a story or features right into smaller, much easier to estimate pieces.

(Note that there are a variety of other techniques used as well.) The rules of estimating poker are:

Participants include all team members.Each estimator is provided a deck of cards via 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40, 100, ∞, and also,?The PO participates but does not estimate.For each backlog item to be approximated, the PO reads the description of the story.Questions are asked and answered.Each estimator privately selects an estimating card representing his or her estimate.All cards are turned over at the same time to protect against prejudice and also to make all approximates visible.High and low estimators define their approximates.After a discussion, each estimator re-estimates by selecting a card.The estimates will most likely converge. If not, the process is repeated.

Some amount of preliminary design discussion is appropriate. However before, spending as well much time on style discussions is frequently wasted effort. The real worth of estimating poker is to involved an agreement on the scope of a story. It’s likewise fun!


The team’s velocity for an iteration is equal to the amount of the points for all the completed stories that met their Definition of Done (DoD). As the team functions together over time, their average velocity (completed story points per iteration) becomes reliable and predictable. Predictable velocity assists through planning and helps limit Work in Process (WIP), as groups don’t take on more stories than their historic velocity would certainly allow. This measure is likewise used to estimate how long it takes to supply epics, features, capabilities, and also enablers, which are additionally forecasted making use of story points.


Capacity is the percentage of the team’s velocity that is actually obtainable for any type of given iteration. Vacations, training, and other occasions deserve to make team members unobtainable to add to an iteration’s purposes for some percent of the iteration. This decreases the maximum potential velocity for that team for that iteration. For instance, a team that averperiods 40 points delivered per iteration would change their maximum velocity down to 36 if a team member is on vacation for one week. Knowing this in advancement, the team only commits to a maximum of 36 story points during iteration planning. This additionally helps during PI Planning to forecast the actual accessible capacity for each iteration in the PI so the team doesn’t over-commit when building their PI Objectives.

Starting Baseline for Estimation

In typical Scrum, each team’s story suggest estimating—and also the resulting velocity—is a neighborhood and also independent concern. At scale, it becomes challenging to predict the story point size for bigger epics and attributes as soon as team velocities can differ wildly. To get rid of this, SAFe groups initially calibrate a starting story point baseline wright here one story suggest is characterized around the exact same throughout all teams. Tright here is no should recalibrate team estimation or velocity. Calibration is perdeveloped one time once launching brand-new Agile Release Trains.

Normalized story points administer an approach for getting to an agreed starting baseline for stories and also velocity as follows:

Give eexceptionally developer-tester on the team eight points for a two-week iteration (one suggest for each best workday, subtracting 2 days for general overhead).Subtract one suggest for eexceptionally team member’s vacation day and also holiday.Find a tiny story that would certainly take about a half-day to code and a half-day to test and also validay. Call it a ‘one.’Estimate eextremely other story family member to that ‘one.’

Example: Assuming a six-perchild team created of 3 developers, 2 testers, and also one PO, through no vacations or holidays, then the approximated initial velocity = 5 × 8 points = 40 points/iteration. (Note: Adjusting a little bit reduced may be vital if among the developers and testers is additionally the Scrum Master.)

In this means, story points are rather equivalent across groups. Management deserve to better understand also the price for a story point and also even more accurately identify the price of an upcoming attribute or epic.

While groups will certainly tfinish to boost their velocity over time—and also that’s an excellent thing— in truth, the number often tends to reprimary stable. A team’s velocity is much more affected by changing team size and technological conmessage than by efficiency variations.

Stories in the SAFe Requirements Model

As explained in the SAFe Requirements Model article, the Framework-related applies an extensive set of artefacts and also relationships to manage the definition and experimentation of complicated systems in a Lean and also Agile fashion. Figure 7 illustprices the role of stories in this larger photo.

Figure 7. Stories in the SAFe Requirements Model

At scale, stories are often (but not always) produced by new features. And each story has acceptance tests and also most likely unit tests. Unit tests generally serve to ensure that the technical implementation of the story is correct. Also, this is a critical starting point for test automation, as unit tests are easily automated, as described in the Test-Driven Growth (TDD) short article.

(Note: Figure 7 provides Unified Modeling Language (UML) notation to represent the relationships between the objects: zero to many kind of (0..*), one to many type of (1..*), one to one (1), and so on.)

Discover More

<1> Leffingwell, Dean. Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practices for Teams, Programs, and also the Enterpclimb. Addison-Wesley, 2011.<2> Cohn, Mike. User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Growth.

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Addison-Wesley, 2004.