Collaborate to create user stories

Dialog

Collaboration is having dialog between two team members, not for the purpose to prove one’s idea, but instead to arrive at a third option. This third option would represent better thought. It is a result of validating one’ ideas with another and accordingly change your mind. The key here is that each person should be ready to be influenced by the other.

Collaboration in large teams is the collective results of dialog between members as pairs.

Team collaboration

To create product vision and stories it requires team collaboration between diverse members of varied interests. These members could include end users, customers, development teams, QA, designers, regulatories, management…. In addition user stories may be further classified to persona describing different usage patterns.

Product vision

  1. Explain to the attendees the product, objectives and background.
  2. Each attendee develops her own version of the product-vision and writes it down on a card.
  3. Mix the cards and ask each attendee to pick a random one.
  4. Ask attendees to stand in  empty space with her product vision.
  5. The game now is about movement for each person and stopping once connected with  another person.
  6. The pair compare each vision and agree on score for each such that the sum of two scores is “7”. For example if one vision is dramatically better than the other, then score it as “7” and the other as “0”. If a pair members find that both visions are close in-terms of quality, they may choose to give one “4” and other “3”, and so on. Of course scores as  “6” & “1” and “5” & “2” an be used by each pair.
  7. These scores are relative between these two visions and represent the opinion of these pair of attendees.
  8. While standing, each person exchange card with any other person.
  9. All attendees move again and connect to another person.
  10. Repeat steps 6 through 8 “6” times.
  11. After completing the above each card is going to have 6 scores  each ranges from 0 to 7.
  12. Ask each one to sum the scores on her card and write it down.
  13. The card with the highest score represents the preferred product vision.
  14. If the scores of the highest and next card are very close, you might like to merge both visions.
  15. Write down the chosen product vision on a large paper and make it visible for all attendees.
  16. Attendees reflect on the chosen vision.

User stories

  1. Divide the attendees into groups, each has 6-8 persons sitting around a table.
  2. The template of user story consists of the following 3 parts: part-1: As <role> part-2: I want to <functionality or feature> part-3: So that I can <benefit>.
  3. The deliverable from writing user stories would be: a. personas and roles, b. user stories created by consensus, c. further understanding of the detailed benefits of the product, and d. priority of each user story.
  4. The idea is to build each user story through collaboration of various attendees.
  5. Each attendee picks a card and completes only the first part of a user story she chooses.
  6. Each attendee hands the card to the person  sitting to her right.
  7. Then, each attendee completes the immediate part to be filled and handing over the card to the person at right. This can be part-2 or part-3. In addition each attendee is creating new stories by filling part-1 and handing to the person at right.
  8. This process of shared responsibility on writing each story help to create team ownership on the requirements, have the voice of each member represented and most importantly allows each person to support the work of the other.
  9. Each group should complete at least 20 user stories.
  10. Ask each group to review user stories, remove duplicate and redundancy, and to agree on number of stories that is equal to the number of people in their group.
  11. Prioritize user stories.
    • Collect the cards from every group and shuffle them all.
    • Ask each person to pick a card.
    • Do a round of prioritizing using product vision prioritization technique above.
    • Stop when arrive at the composite score of every card.
    • The stories should be prioritized according to the composite score on each card. The higher the score on the card, the higher the priority of the user story.

The ideas in this post are based on a session attended in Deep Agile 2010 in Cambridge, MA for prioritizing user stories.

Divide the attendees into 3-4 groups, each has 6-8 persons sitting around a table.
The template of user story consists of the following 3 parts:
As <role>
I want to <functionality or feature>
So that I can <benefit>
The deliverables from writing user stories would be:
– Roles or users who are going to use the system. The would include personas who represent further classification of end users to help in understanding various usage patterns.
– Users stories created by consensus
– Further understanding of the detailed benefits based on what each user writes
The idea is to build each user story through collaboration of various attendees.
Each attendee picks a card and completes only the first part of a user story she chooses.
Each attendee hands the card to the person  sitting to her right
Then, each attendee completes the immediate part to be filled and handing over the card to th person at right. This can be part-2 or part-3. In addition each attendee is creating new stories by filling part-1 and handing to the person at right.
Each group should complete at least 20 user stories
Ask each group to review user stories, remove duplicate and reducndancy, and to agree on number users as twice the number of people in their group.
Prioritize user stories
Take the cards from every group and pile them to the center and then shuffle all cards.
Ask each person to pick 1 card
Do a round of prioritizing using product vision prioritization technique above
Stop till arrive at the composite score of every card
From the remaining cards in the center as each person to pick on card
Do a round of prioritizing using product vision prioritization technique above
Stop till arrive at the composite score of every card
The stories should be prioritized according to the composite score on each card

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