David Munene Gakuru talks with Dorothy Mhlanga about user stories, and how this most valuable technique helps solution design focus on end-user needs.
David is a senior business analyst with over 6 years of experience, whose main areas of specialisation are Business analysis planning and monitoring, requirements management and communication.
What is your favourite business analysis technique, and what is it that you love about it?
My favourite technique is user stories. I like that they enable me to understand the end-user needs from their perspective so that any solution design or assessment is purely done on their expectations.
I also enhance the user stories by using use case modelling, and apply this technique so that I end up with well-detailed requirements specifications.
In which situations or at which point in the business analysis process do you typically use this technique?
I use user stories in the whole project life-cycle. I try to keep a perspective that the solution should meet the end user’s needs. In the midst of a project, the use case modelling methods provide an avenue where I capture and interpret the user requirements in detail through illustrating interactions between roles, steps and the system.
How are user stories particularly relevant for business and project stakeholders?
The business environment experiences a slow to medium veracity in user requirements due to the nature of work and client needs. The environment is very agile and user stories provide an ability to capture requirements from different stakeholders through the use of tools such as pivotal tracker which reduces rework and a lot of collaboration amongst stakeholders. It aids in developing relevant and user-focused solutions.
Why do you choose user stories over other techniques that can achieve similar results?
User stories enable collaboration between stakeholders to understand user needs. The effort required in requirements gathering is engaging as the business analyst will immerse themselves in the shoes of the users. The solution will be user-focused but also as a BA one is able to understand business processes and procedures and hence see the bigger picture. This is especially true for linked or interactive processes that will be solved by the designed solution.
What advice do you have for other people using the user story technique? Do you have any tips to make user stories spectacular?
User stories is a technique that can easily be adopted by businesses that are very agile. It should also be used with or combined with another methodology, use case modelling. Collaboration with end-users is one of the key ways in which as a business analyst you will end up with detailed and focused requirements and user stories provide that capability for me.