Splitting User Stories with Generic Words

This is the third in my series on splitting larger user stories into smaller user stories. If you are just joining us, go back and read part one and part two. Don’t worry, I’ll wait right here for you.

Like the first story splitting technique – Conjunctions and Connectors technique – , the second technique -the Generic Words approach works by parsing the text of the user story. This time, instead of looking for connector words, we are looking for generic words. “What’s a generic word?” you ask. Any noun that isn’t a proper noun is generic, as are many verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. What we are looking for is a generic or general term in the story which could be replaced by several more specific terms to create a number of smaller stories. Perhaps an example would help explain this:


As a couple traveling with our family,
We want romantic activities to do together,
so that we can rekindle our love connection.

In this story, the word “activities” is pretty generic. We can replace “activities” with more specific words such as: couple’s massage, romantic dinner for two, and sunset couple’s cruise. We will get these stories.

As a couple,
we want to get a couple’s massage,
so that we can relax together and reconnect.

and

As a couple,
we want a romantic dinner for two,
so that we can have a date even more romantic than our first date

and

As a couple,
we want to go on a couples-only cruise at sunset,
so that we can enjoy romantic moments with no children around


With this technique you go from one general scenario to several more specific scenarios, each of which can be implemented separately. You will probably need some practice with this technique to get really good with it, so spend some time this week practicing! Come back in a week to learn the third technique for splitting user stories.

Here are quick links to all of the user story splitting posts.

Cheers,

Chris

Chris Sims is co-author of Elements of Scrum as well as a Certified Scrum Trainer, agile coach, and recovering C++ developer who helps software development teams improve their productivity and happiness.

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