Agile User Stories come from UX
I have been involved in Agile for a very long time, mainly because it uses methods from the human computer interaction scientific process (CHI/HCI).
I’m surprise no one else has blogged about the use of CHI/HCI processes in Agile before, but though I should say something as I keep getting told that it’s interesting how many CHI/HCI people have embraced Agile. In fact it’s the other way around we have simply re-appropriated our own techniques that have new Agile names.
The main one is User Stories; they are in fact a reuse of the Cognitive Walkthrough, but I’ll let you draw your own conclusion.
Cognitive Walkthrough is a method utilised to determine the potential usability failures within an interactive system.
The method starts with a task analysis that specifies the sequence of steps or actions required by a user to accomplish a specified task. The system response to each action is noted. The designers and developers of the software then walk through the steps as a group this enables an agreed view. They ask themselves a set of defined questions at each step to determine all the potential outcomes. Afterwards a report of potential issues is compiled and the project team has a clear focus on the various user pathways including happy paths, risky paths, error paths and failure paths.
User Stories are a quick method to determine the who, the what and the why of a business requirement and are produced in a narrative format as if a user was walking through their use of an interactive system.
User stores are written at two levels Epic Stories that define groups of functionality (registration) and User Stories that define a single piece of functionality (sign in).
User stories are written by the product owner (an Agile tile for stakeholder or product manager) a user experience architect or a business project manager (not a scrum master) or the development team when they break down stories that are too large (these are then confirmed by the product owner).
The method starts with defining the Epic stories, then breaking these down into smaller stories that relate to an encapsulated (self standing) component. In design and development these stories can be parcelled to the various specialisations including user research (end user validation, How It Works), visual design, user experience design, back-end development (feature and service delivery), security and front end development. These stories will have their interlinks (to other components) stubbed out until those stories are built and can be integrated.
Agile + CHI/HCI = User Centred Requirements, User Centred Design and User Centred Development.
They are not exactly the same but the essential method is, think like a user, describe what you can do and build the system that enables a user to complete a task or gain a feature and that is the same.