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Iceni Magazine | September 16, 2020

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User Stories Workshop – What is it?

User Stories Workshop – What is it?

You may have heard us mention that we like to run a “User Stories Workshop” with our clients to understand requirements before we produce any software. You may also have thought what is it, and why?

User Stories Applied, along with Agile Estimating & Planning, both books by Mike Cohn form the basis of, and have strongly influenced Naked Element’s Agile processes. There is some crossover between the two books, but, as you would expect, User Stories Applied looks in detail at User Stories.

A user story workshop (referred to by Cohn as a Story-Writing Workshop) is a meeting which includes developers, users, key stakeholders and other parties who can contribute to writing the stories. Although the primary objective of the workshop is to produce user stories which enable all parties to understand the requirements of the software and that can be used for estimating and planning, the first step is to identify the User Roles within the system.

User story workshops usually last between two hours and a full day, depending on the scope of the software solution. Naked Element charge a modest rate for the workshop to cover our time. This also includes the proposal and estimate document which is produced by Naked Element following the workshop.

What we ask from the client before the workshop:

  • To ensure the necessary people are available, without distraction, for the duration for the workshop.
  • To ensure the key stakeholders are included. At the very least you should have someone who can represent:
    • Decision makers
    • Users
    • Domain experts
  • To ensure all those attending understand the problems which the software solution will be solving.
  • Where possible, ensure all those attending have read chapters 1 to 4 of User Stories Applied by Mike Cohn
  • No materials needed. Naked Element will bring all materials needed to capture the user roles and stories

As the client there is some preparation which needs to be done prior to the workshop. However, we don’t expect you to write any stories prior to the workshop – that’s what the workshop is for. A good idea of who will use the system, what you want the system to do and how you’d like it to work is all we need.

A User Story describes functionality that will be of value to either a user or purchaser of a system or software. User stories are composed of three aspects:

  • A written description of the story used for planning and as a reminder
  • Conversations about the story that serve to flesh out the details of the story
  • Tests that convey and document details that can be used to determine when a story is complete.

We can then use these details to work out the estimated time and cost for the initial phase project!

If you feel your current system is inefficient or consists of errors, our Commercial Director, Emma Gooderham would love to hear your ideas.

Contact Emma on 01603 383458 or


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