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Who, What, and Why: The way to Write a Person Story

Product managers are anticipated to domesticate and keep relationships with quite a few individuals throughout the growth course of. Probably the most intimate of those, nonetheless, will probably be with the product consumer. You need to know them inside out: who they’re, their preferences, and their wants. One solution to develop and keep this relationship is by writing consumer tales.

Similar to manifestoes and imaginative and prescient paperwork, consumer tales are an integral a part of product growth. Good consumer tales are the important thing to driving environment friendly planning and supply, crew engagement, and buyer satisfaction. Obscure consumer tales typically point out that the crew will battle to finish duties additional down the road—one thing I’ve witnessed typically in my position as a product supervisor.

My involvement in profitable startups—and a few which have failed—has proven me firsthand the significance of taking the time to craft high quality consumer tales. This information will provide help to and your crew grasp every ingredient and write high quality consumer tales time and time once more.

What Is a Person Story?

A consumer story is a small increment of the product represented by way of the worth it’s going to provide to the top consumer. A gaggle of consumer tales creates an epic, and a single product can comprise a number of epics. A consumer story may be damaged down additional into duties that extra precisely replicate the work and description how the story will probably be accomplished. Person tales usually make use of the system Person – Performance – Profit, which may be utilized successfully to most industries and companies.

A large circle filled with small circles, each filled with smaller circles, representing the relationship between tasks, user stories, and epics.

Sometimes, the product supervisor is answerable for writing consumer tales, however sometimes this may increasingly fall to the product proprietor, Scrum grasp, or engineering supervisor. Ideally, each consumer story will probably be reviewed by the particular person, or individuals, who will undertake the work.

What Are the Advantages of a Good Person Story?

consumer story has a number of advantages for the crew and product:

  • Defining the “who” and writing from the consumer’s perspective ensures that focus is maintained on the shopper, moderately than on what the crew desires or prefers.
  • Defining the “what” clarifies the factors for the particular person finishing the duty, referred to as the doer. Something that’s not within the story may be thought of out of scope.
  • Defining the “why” motivates the doer by serving to them perceive the affect the deliverable could have on the consumer’s life.
  • Defining consumer worth may also help establish a much less helpful characteristic earlier than work on it begins—and sources are doubtlessly wasted.

What Does a Good Person Story Look Like?

If, for instance, you’re constructing a home to your buyer, one in every of your tales could be about creating the enclosing partitions. A nasty consumer story would possibly say “I want partitions”—figuring out the “what” however nothing extra. A greater one could be: “As a house owner, I would like my home to have enclosing partitions to maintain out the weather, and so the roof doesn’t fall on my head.” I consider, although, that if a consumer story is actually fulfilling its function, it ought to clearly and concisely reply the entire following questions:

  • Who’s the consumer?
  • What does the consumer need? Why does the consumer need this?
  • How ought to the engineering crew interpret this story?
  • Does this story depend upon one other story being accomplished beforehand?
  • Does the completion of this story allow one other story within the backlog?
  • What’s the scope (i.e., what are the minimal standards)?
  • How large is that this story (i.e., the place does it fall on the estimation scale)?

That is the template I exploit—it has advanced with my product administration data and labored nicely for me for a few years:





Person Persona

Who’s the consumer?

The consumer is a wealthy man from Chicago who’s making an expensive summer time dwelling within the Hamptons.

To totally envision the consumer, groups work with many various personas, so it is very important be as detailed as potential.

Person Story

What does the consumer need? Why does the consumer need this?

“As a house owner, I want to have ornamental brick partitions round my dwelling in a diagonal basketweave sample as a result of I’ll see them daily and would really like them to be a satisfying sight.”

To know the motivation of the consumer and their reasoning.


How ought to the engineering crew interpret this story?

The consumer desires elaborate partitions, so we have to construct an everyday central wall after which have scaffolding within the required model (i.e., diagonal basketweave). We will use common bricks for the core wall, however might want to use high-quality decor bricks for the facade layers on each side of the wall.

To interrupt down the story logically into duties, which aids progress-tracking.


Does this story depend upon one other story being accomplished beforehand?

So as to begin work on this, the inspiration of the home must be accomplished and able to construct upon.

To interpret the place a narrative is within the workstream hierarchy and visualize the general supply timeline.


Does the completion of this story allow one other story within the backlog?

When the partitions are accomplished, we will put up assist columns and, lastly, the roof.

To interpret the place a narrative is within the workstream hierarchy and visualize the general supply timeline.

Definition of Performed

What’s the scope?

There needs to be a steady set of exterior partitions round the home, with a diagonal basketweave-style facade on each side of the wall. Finish-to-end width of the wall needs to be at least 12 inches at any level.

To outline when a narrative is full. The answer might want to embrace all the pieces listed right here.

T-shirt Measurement

How large is that this story?


To loosely estimate supply time for the general story. A extra granular estimation will then be accomplished for every process by the doer.

A Frequent Person Story Fable

In relation to judging whether or not consumer tales are good or unhealthy, there’s a pervasive fantasy that I need to dispel.

Many individuals consider {that a} consumer story needs to be accomplished in a single dash, and, if it isn’t, it was a foul consumer story. This isn’t the case. In fact, it’s preferable {that a} consumer story will get accomplished in a dash (and this needs to be achievable), however the crew’s bandwidth and exterior elements might affect the quantity of labor that may be executed—and it will fluctuate from dash to dash. Additionally, estimates usually assume that each growth crew member has the identical ability stage throughout all domains; the actual fact is, it’s going to take much less time for a extra skilled engineer to finish a process than a junior engineer.

You shouldn’t attempt to craft brief consumer tales simply in order that they are going to be accomplished rapidly; moderately, your consumer story ought to search to symbolize a logical increment of worth delivered. Don’t let a schedule dictate your creation of a compelling consumer story.

Preserve the Person Entrance and Middle in Your Thoughts

I discover initiatives are most fulfilling and most profitable when I’m assured in my data of the consumer—you’ll be able to study extra about my experiences on my private weblog. Whether or not I’m pitching new options or deciding on the scope of supply with my crew, realizing what the consumer would say is probably the most dependable solution to check my imaginative and prescient. It’s, nonetheless, simple to lose contact with the consumer—and subsequently the “why”—if I’m not commonly considering of them. That is true for almost all of product managers whose focus is commonly pulled to different duties and duties. Writing good consumer tales may also help you and your crew members keep that picture of the consumer in your thoughts, and even improve your relationship with them.

Additional Studying on the Toptal Product Weblog:



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