4 Scrum Stories We Can’t Get Enough Of

Who doesn’t love a great story? A well-defined Story is a critical, and somewhat challenging, component of the Agile process. To aid you in your quest for great Story writing, we’ve identified 4 categories of Scrum Stories to keep in mind as you write away.

Each of these Stories:

  • Represents a request (from a Stakeholder) for something of verifiable Value.[1]
  • Contains a high-level definition of a requirement that includes the who, what, and why as concisely as possible.
  • Is a unit of work that is “small enough’ to be agreed to by the Team and is not an Epic.[2]
  • Includes a demonstrable and testable Definition of Done.[3]
  • Allows the Team to inspect and adapt based on the Results.[4]

1. Actionable Story

Also known as a “Ready Story”, this is a small, well-defined Story that is ready to take to planning. Generally, this means that the Story’s Agreement [5] is a ’10 minute discussion’ away from being agreed to.

Actionable Story - Scrum Stories 3Back

2. Analysis Story

An Analysis Story finds Items or Stories. The most common Analysis Stories find functional Stories by one of the various methods (working with SMEs[6], studying Change Requests, conducting Usability Analysis, etc.). There can also be Risk Analysis Stories (finding risks and fears that need be dealt with) and Process Analysis Stories (finding process improvements), etc. Refinement Stories are a specific kind of Analysis Story and usually focus on extracting and refining Stories from Epics, rather than finding new Items.

Analysis Story - Scrum Stories 3Back

3. Cleanup Story

A CleanUp Story revolves around the discovery of Technical Debt[7]. Since Technical Debt can’t be seen except by looking at code, its presence must be made visible to the outside somehow. To make it visible, we use the Cleanup Story – to tell us where the mess is and what we have to do to clean it up. The Cleanup Story always belongs on the Back Burner[8], so that it’s always right in front of the Team and the Stakeholders[9] when discussing prioritization and Sprint Planning[10], which forces them to either do something about it or ignore it on purpose.

Cleanup Story - Scrum Stories 3Back

4. PlaceHolder Story

A PlaceHolder Story represents a ‘known unknown’ (or contains Story Points[11] to be used for ‘known unknowns’). One of the most common issues for Scrum Teams is what to do about work that it expects to have to do during a Sprint, but doesn’t actually know the details about yet, such as fixing bugs in existing systems or expected sales support efforts. Using PlaceHolder Stories is a form of buffer and is used as part of contingency planning.

Placeholder Story - Scrum Stories 3Back

For more expert suggestions of Story writing,
read on here.

Plus, we’ve got training for that.

As Always. Stay Agile.


Notes and Sources

1-11 “Value,” “Epic,” “Definition of Done,” “Results,” “Story Agreement,” “SME,” “Technical Debt,” “Back Burner,” “Stakeholder,” “Sprint Planning,” “Story Point.” ScrumDictionary.com. Accessed November 29, 2017. https://scrumdictionary.com/.