A user story “dark pattern”

Let’s say you are writing user stories for a Scrum product backlog, and you find yourself writing stories which look like this:

As a Customer Service Agent, I want to add a note to a customer so that I can track my notes for a customer.

OR

As a Clerical Processor, I want to update an employees record so that I can can change their data.

OR

As a Human Resource Manager, I want to add a certification to an employee so that I can track their certifications.

What do you think the problem might be with these stories?

If you take a close look, the “so that” makes no sense. It’s just a restatement of what the action part of the story is. It adds no value – so either just remove it, change it so it does add value. Perhaps something like:

As a Human Resource Manager, I want to add a certification to an employee so that our sales team can quickly determine if we have certifications that can earn the company new projects.

In this example, the “so that” actually gives us some insight into why we might want to capture notes about a customer – it’s tied to actual business value, not just a restatement of what the feature is supposed to be.

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