Better Software Conference West 2010: Making a Long Story Short: Splitting User Stories

Bill Wake, Industrial Logic, Inc.

When a single user story mixes both high- and low-value functionality or contains too many or unrelated customer needs, the flow of value slows. You must wait for the whole story to be finished before benefiting from its highest value parts. Even worse, it makes higher-value parts of the next story wait on lower-value parts of this one. Large stories can increase project risk because the core part of a story often contains proportionally more of its risk. While agile methods support incremental development, large stories can force a particular overall path even when the team would be better off taking advantage of earlier feedback and moving in a different direction. Join Bill Wake as he examines user story bundling and unbundling, splitting and merging. He shares concrete techniques for story splitting and explores high-level, user-experience, nonfunctional, and complex storylines. Take away a toolkit of at least twenty ways you can split your user stories to increase value flow and customer satisfaction.

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