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The power of user stories in application development

By Hassan Khalid
23/05/2019

The power of user stories in application development

Application development is a tangled web. Caught in the excitement of creating something new and revolutionary, it can be all too easy to get lost in your own labyrinth of thoughts. You are in so deep you can’t see the forest for trees. You forget what the true purpose is: value. Many developers achieve this through user-centric journeys.

Whether it is a mobile app or a website, user stories are a way to note what users hope to get out of your product, for your benefit. It puts the users’ motivations and goals at the heart of every function.

It is critical to get this right to gain maximum benefit from the process. Here are several tips to keep in mind when writing your own user stories.

Breaking down a user story

User stories are the building blocks for your new application. You can split potential users into separate groups or audiences. Finding the right ‘personas’ for your business helps you pin down exactly who you are making this for. A persona is more than a brief overview – it is a deep dive into the type of person who uses your product. If you can identify who they are, you can identify their needs and wants.

You might find you have what they call an ‘epic’ – a larger goal that needs breaking down into smaller, bite-sized stories you can tackle more efficiently. These user stories need writing in the simplest terms. No jargon, no business speak. Something like:

“I am a (role) and I want to (action) in order to (goal)”

With these user stories in place, the whole team is on the same page regarding product development goals and the ways to achieve them. This provides better transparency for budget and time estimations, along with less time spent coding as developers have a much greater understanding of the tasks at hand.

Here’s what to bear in mind when developing your user stories.

Have organisation in mind

User stories can stack up into the hundreds if you’re dealing with a complex product.

For administration and navigation purposes, name, categorise, and tag every story. Avoid renames after revisions wherever possible to minimse confusion in the development team. Proper management should also go into the metadata of your stories, including progress, resources, priorities, links, and status. With this in mind, your backlog makes sense and is easier to monitor.

Be concise

When it comes to user stories, simple and accurate language will serve you much better than buzzwords and acronyms. Instead of clarifying unique language, collaborating teams will have more time to focus on deeply understanding user needs.

Prioritise

High-priority stories can be moved to main functions if a client requires a high fidelity prototype.

It is also important to prioritise your user groups. Stories without user clarification often end up wasting time. Focus on stories approved by a customer group representative, based on consultation, data, and focus groups.

For development teams, users, and clients, user stories are a fantastic way to bridge the gap between all parties. They help teams move toward collaboration and visualising a product’s goals and functionality with user insight at its core. Just remember to keep it simple wherever possible – who wants to do what and why – while setting detailed technical requirements and acceptance criteria.

Createk builds software that unlocks efficiency across your business. We get under the skin of how you operate and create a bespoke solution perfect for your unique challenges. Secure, stable, and supported every step of the way. Get in touch to see how Createk can help you with your application development.

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