The User Stories Workshop

Do your developers and business people communicate effectively, understand each other perfectly, and nearly complete each other’s sentences? Or do they speak different languages and suffer the recurring cost of translating between business, product, and technical views? Are planning, tracking, and reporting smooth and simple, or filled with friction and dependent on diverse systems? Well executed User Stories reduce confusion, elicit effective feedback faster, and align the team’s efforts to produce valuable results sooner. This effectiveness, however, does not emerge from the tool or format used, but from understanding the techniques and developing the skills essential to composing user stories well. By the end of this workshop you will:
  • Understand the intent and use of user stories
  • Use thin slicing to accelerate feedback, and deliver value continuously
  • Rapidly recognize deficient user stories and improve them
  • Avoid common traps with user stories
  • Recognize system context and understand why the story is not the format
  • Optimize the lifecycle of your user stories, including scenarios and evolutionary design
Online Workshop Format We deliver this workshop as a series of live interactive online sessions. Sessions are usually held weekly, for 90 minutes, including material and integrated learning exercises. Sessions include assignments to help participants apply the material to their own work between sessions. Participants have access to an Industrial Logic forum where coaches assist participants as they apply the material. Expect to spend 2-5 hours per week learning and applying, including the class time. Topics for the remote training sessions are dynamically adapted to emerging needs of participants, and often include topics such as these:
    • User Stories in a Nutshell— user, story, system event and external perspective; placeholder for conversation; bits of precision in a user story; stories for product evolution. In other words, all the basics you though you knew, but your organization's user stories demonstrate otherwise.
    • Role-Action-Context Headline— correct naming prevents story problems; common errors make R-A-C headlines difficult.
    • Whose Job is Story Writing?— story writing demands cross-functional collaboration; symptoms and failures of single role and solo writing.
    • Splitting and Simplifying Stories— Maximizing the value of your release, while minimizing time to market.
    • User Story Formats— Role, Action, Context. The Connextra Format. Given/When/Then format. The trap of story = format.
    • Criteria for Effective Stories— recognize problems at a glance and rapidly repair them.
    • User Stories as Diagnostics— patterns of pain points in user stories identify root cause organizational issues.
    • Common Pain Points— tickets vs stories, use-cases vs stories, how do BDD scenarios fit with stories, story writing and wireframes, what goes in the story vs the test tracking tool, stories and compliance (not stories about compliance).
    • Story Mapping— a visual roadmap to understand the system, to sequence and slice stories, and to deliver value sooner.
I thought I understood User Stories, but I had no idea how much I didn't know. Everything is so much simpler now... and so much more effective. Thank you.

Course Details

Transfer
Knowledge: 40%, Skill-Building: 60%
Learning outcomes
  • Understand the intent and use of user stories.
  • Improve thin slicing, feedback, and delivering value continuously.
  • Rapidly recognize deficient user stories and improve them.
  • Avoid common traps with user stories.
  • Recognize system context and understand why the story is not the format.
  • The lifecycle evolution of user stories, including scenarios and evolutionary design.
Method of Instruction
Online discussions using voice and video, online interactive exercises and instructional games for small groups, assignments applying new skills to real work, online collaborative space supporting application between sessions.
Target Audience
Primary: This workshop is suited to teams and organizations interested in improving planning, execution, and project related communication.
Course Level
Introductory-Intermediate

Requirements

General Requirements

To ensure a successful class, we require the following:

  • Each attendee must attend from their own computer (Having groups of attendees at a single computer or in a single conference room creates imbalanced communication and damages the experience).
  • Participants must block the workshop collaboration times and attend as they would with an in-person workshop. (This is not a webinar or passive presentation. It will be active, collaborative, and include small group exercises working on participants products.)
  • Good quality headsets and microphones are recommended.
  • Though not required, dual monitors are very helpful, as they allow participants to see others and use the conferencing tools on one screen while collaborating and viewing product artifacts on another screen.

Once an agreement for the workshop is confirmed, we will work with your designated contact to ensure a successful workshop setup.

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