Several months ago I heard an Agile consultant lecture that User Stories are like the stories we see in movies because there's three parts to a user story — Beginning, middle, end.
That's like saying a Rueben sandwich tastes great because it has three parts. The first bite, the last bite, and all the bites in the middle. In fact, story expert James Bonnet writes about the limits of the three act structure.
Here's two ways User Stories are like stories.
- They both revolve around problems. The problem in a movie has to be big enough to capture our attention.
- A good movie invokes surprise, delight,curiosity. The screenwriter avoids spelling out every detail, making us active participants in the movie. User Stories are like that too.
Product Owners should write User Stories in a way that elicits a conversation with developers. No need to describe every detail of a requirement. The conversation assures developers actively participate in the design.
So the conversation concept produces some of the same benefits that screenwriters create by using implied dialogue techniques.