July 13, 2024
Who, What, and Why: Methods to Write a Consumer Story

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

Identical 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, group engagement, and buyer satisfaction. Imprecise person tales typically point out that the group will battle to finish duties additional down the road—one thing I’ve witnessed typically 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 group grasp every aspect 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 by way of the worth it’ll provide to the top person. A bunch 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 replicate the work and description how the story will probably be accomplished. Consumer tales usually make use of the method 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.

Usually, the product supervisor is liable for writing person tales, however sometimes this will fall to the product proprietor, Scrum grasp, or engineering supervisor. Ideally, each person story will probably be reviewed by the individual, or folks, who will undertake the work.

What Are the Advantages of a Good Consumer Story?

An excellent person story has a number of advantages for the group and product:

  • Defining the “who” and writing from the person’s perspective ensures that focus is maintained on the client, somewhat than on what the group desires or prefers.
  • Defining the “what” clarifies the factors for the individual finishing the duty, referred to as the doer. Something that’s not within the story will be thought-about out of scope.
  • Defining the “why” motivates the doer by serving to them perceive the influence the deliverable can have on the person’s life.
  • Defining person worth may help establish a less-beneficial function earlier than work on it begins—and assets are doubtlessly wasted.

What Does a Good Consumer Story Look Like?

If, for instance, you might be constructing a home in your buyer, one in all your tales could be about creating the enclosing partitions. A foul person story may say “I want partitions”—figuring out the “what” however nothing extra. A greater one could be: “As a home-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 imagine, although, that if a person story is actually fulfilling its function, 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 group interpret this story?
  • Does this story rely 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 huge is that this story (i.e., the place does it fall on the estimation scale)?

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





Consumer Persona

Who’s the person?

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

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

Consumer Story

What does the person need? Why does the person need this?

“As a home-owner, I wish to have ornamental brick partitions round my dwelling in a diagonal basketweave sample as a result of I’ll see them each day and would love them to be a satisfying sight.”

To grasp the motivation of the person and their reasoning.


How ought to the engineering group interpret this story?

The person 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 are able to 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 rely upon one other story being accomplished beforehand?

As a way 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 Executed

What’s the scope?

There must 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 must 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 huge 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

On the subject of judging whether or not person tales are good or unhealthy, there’s a pervasive fantasy that I need to dispel.

Many individuals imagine {that a} person story must be accomplished in a single dash, and, if it isn’t, it was a foul person story. This isn’t the case. After all, it’s preferable {that a} person story will get accomplished in a dash (and this must be achievable), however the group’s bandwidth and exterior elements could influence the quantity of labor that may be accomplished—and this can range from dash to dash. Additionally, estimates usually assume that each growth group member has the identical talent degree throughout all domains; the very fact is, it’ll take much less time for a extra skilled engineer to finish a activity than a junior engineer.

You shouldn’t attempt to craft brief person tales simply in order that they are going to be accomplished rapidly; somewhat, 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 tasks are most satisfying and most profitable when I’m assured in my data 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 group, understanding what the person would say is essentially the most dependable solution to take a look at my imaginative and prescient. It’s, nonetheless, straightforward to lose contact with the person—and subsequently the “why”—if I’m not repeatedly pondering of them. That is true for almost all of product managers whose focus is usually pulled to different duties and duties. Writing good person tales may help you and your group members preserve that picture of the person in your thoughts, and even improve your relationship with them.

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