Who, What, and Why: How you can Write a Consumer Story

Product managers are anticipated to domesticate and keep relationships with quite a few folks throughout the growth course of. Probably the most intimate of those, nevertheless, will likely be with the product person. It’s best to know them inside out: who they’re, their preferences, and their wants. One strategy to develop and keep this relationship is by writing person tales.

Similar to manifestoes and imaginative and prescient paperwork, person tales are an integral a part of product growth. Good person tales are the important thing to driving environment friendly planning and supply, crew engagement, and buyer satisfaction. Obscure person tales usually point out that the crew will wrestle to finish duties additional down the road—one thing I’ve witnessed usually in my function 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 person tales. This information will show you how to and your crew grasp every factor and write high quality person tales time and time once more.

What Is a Consumer Story?

A person story is a small increment of the product represented when it comes to the worth it can provide to the tip person. A gaggle of person tales creates an epic, and a single product can comprise a number of epics. A person story will be damaged down additional into duties that extra precisely mirror the work and description how the story will likely be accomplished. Consumer tales usually make use of the system Consumer – Performance – Profit, which will 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 liable for writing person tales, however often this will likely fall to the product proprietor, Scrum grasp, or engineering supervisor. Ideally, each person story will likely be reviewed by the particular person, or folks, who will undertake the work.

What Are the Advantages of a Good Consumer Story?

A great person story has a number of advantages for the crew and product:

  • Defining the “who” and writing from the person’s perspective ensures that focus is maintained on the shopper, slightly than on what the crew needs or prefers.
  • Defining the “what” clarifies the standards for the particular person finishing the duty, referred to as the doer. Something that’s not within the story will be thought of out of scope.
  • Defining the “why” motivates the doer by serving to them perceive the affect the deliverable may have on the person’s life.
  • Defining person worth might help establish a less-beneficial function earlier than work on it begins—and sources are probably wasted.

What Does a Good Consumer Story Look Like?

If, for instance, you might be constructing a home on your buyer, one in all your tales can be about creating the enclosing partitions. A foul person story may say “I would like partitions”—figuring out the “what” however nothing extra. A greater one can be: “As a house owner, I need 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 person story is actually fulfilling its goal, it ought to clearly and concisely reply the entire following questions:

  • Who’s the person?
  • What does the person need? Why does the person need this?
  • How ought to the engineering crew interpret this story?
  • Does this story rely on 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 massive 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 information and labored nicely for me for a few years:





Consumer Persona

Who’s the person?

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

To completely envision the person, groups work with many various personas, so you will need to be as detailed as doable.

Consumer Story

What does the person need? Why does the person 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 on daily basis and would love them to be a lovely sight.”

To grasp the motivation of the person and their reasoning.


How ought to the engineering crew interpret this story?

The person needs elaborate partitions, so we have to construct an everyday central wall after which have scaffolding within the required fashion (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 either side of the wall.

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


Does this story rely on one other story being accomplished beforehand?

With a purpose 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 can put up help columns and, lastly, the roof.

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

Definition of Completed

What’s the scope?

There needs to be a steady set of exterior partitions round the home, with a diagonal basketweave-style facade on either 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 embody the whole lot listed right here.

T-shirt Measurement

How massive is that this story?


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

A Widespread Consumer Story Delusion

With regards to judging whether or not person tales are good or dangerous, there’s a pervasive fable that I wish to dispel.

Many individuals consider {that a} person story needs to be accomplished in a single dash, and, if it isn’t, it was a foul person story. This isn’t the case. In fact, it’s preferable {that a} person 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 accomplished—and this may fluctuate from dash to dash. Additionally, estimates usually assume that each growth crew member has the identical talent degree throughout all domains; the actual fact is, it can take much less time for a extra skilled engineer to finish a activity than a junior engineer.

You shouldn’t attempt to craft quick person tales simply in order that they are going to be accomplished shortly; slightly, your person story ought to search to signify a logical increment of worth delivered. Don’t let a schedule dictate your creation of a compelling person story.

Hold the Consumer Entrance and Middle in Your Thoughts

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

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