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The Power of User Stories in Product Management | Benefits of EPIC

By Sandeep Manepalli Gururaj – Sr. Product Manager – CRM at Pegasystems

In product development, user stories act like the backbone of agile methodologies, which guide teams through the process of building and improving products. User stories are important for product managers to understand the user’s needs, improve collaboration across teams, and make a clear roadmap for product development.

Key Takeaways:

  • The 3 Cs of user stories are card, conversation and confirmation.
  • User story card is a simple one-liner or maximum of two lines describing the fundamental questions of who, what and why.
  • Product managers should drive conversations based on the user’s needs and the context is integral to shaping effective user stories
  • When we call the user story as done, that’s the confirmation. 
  • The main benefits of user stories are focus, enablement, collaboration, creativity, speed and better memory.
In this article
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    The 3 C’s of User Stories

    1. Card

    First element of user stories is called card or user story card. Now the world is digital and online so we have so many tools available to us. User story card is a simple one-liner or maximum of two lines describing the fundamental questions of who, what and why. This means answering who is the user, what does the user want or what is the user doing and why is he doing it. The essence of a user story revolves around the user, hence understanding why the user seeks a particular feature or solution is paramount. 

    2. Conversation

    The user story card sets the stage but the more important aspect is the conversation that follows it. It is common to assume that the user story has to follow a certain pattern. As a product manager, facilitating the conversation is important for effective functioning of the team. This involves exploring various options, discussing how to keep the user’s preferences in mind and strategically identifying the best course of action. As product manager, you need to keep in mind that the team would comprise different people and different skill sets, abilities and experiences, so there has to be a sharing of the information across the team. There has to be an identification of the dependencies and if necessary have a plan to address those dependencies before you take up the user story for building. So knowing who is going to use knowing the context helps drive this conversation within the team and that is also a key element of a user story. 

    3. Confirmation

    The third component is confirmation. It is nothing but acceptance criteria. When we call the user story as done, that’s the confirmation. By clearly defining the conditions for acceptance, teams ensure alignment on the expected outcomes and facilitate efficient delivery.

    Benefits of User Stories

    1. Focus 

    User stories help in building focus by aligning the team’s efforts towards a common goal. This effectively reduces the extent of multitasking in the team and results in people working towards one clearly defined goal. Now with the concept of agile, scrum, user stories, the team can be focussed on one thing instead of multitasking. 

    2. Enablement

    As a product manager, it is your responsibility to enable people to do different things. Be it office things, technology or generally about the domain, industry, and so on. So user stories help in enabling people because it is easy to explain, easy to understand, and makes it easy for developers to convey the same thing to others as well.

    3. Collaboration

    Today, there are a lot of dependencies in work so there needs to be a collaboration within the team. There is a lot of improvement in the time taken to do tasks with effective collaboration. 

    4. Creativity

    In product management, people come up with different solutions and it’s actually good for product building because of the fact that there are people with different expertise levels and experiences. Some of them are creative as well. So it also brings up a lot of inherent creativity aspects of those people. 

    5. Speed

    How do you think creativity helps? For example the team that you work with might consistently give a lot of innovative ideas to the product management. Since the team is not hopping between multiple tasks, the tasks are done faster as well. 

    6. Better memory

    With the help of user stories, memory becomes better and things are retained in the mind for a longer time. It is easier for you to remember when a particular task was done and why it was done. 

    These are the key reasons why user stories have to be driven and used as a medium by a product manager with the internal product teams. A well written story connects user pain points and also connects pain points of the user with the creative solutions that the development team has thereby leading to a better product. Hence storytelling in product development is essential to make each product convey an incredible story.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    User stories are important for product managers to understand the user’s needs, improve collaboration across teams, and make a clear roadmap for product development. Its purpose is to explain how a product feature will provide value to the customer.

    The 3 C’s of user stories are card, conversation and confirmation.

    It is essential to keep user stories crisp, concise and easy to understand. They should keep in mind the user’s perspective in a non-technical manner.

    The main benefits of user stories are focus, enablement, collaboration, creativity, speed, and better memory.

    User stories help in building focus by aligning the team’s efforts towards a common goal. This effectively reduces the extent of multitasking in the team and results in people working towards one clearly defined goal

    About the Author: 

    Sandeep Manepalli GururajSr. Product Manager – CRM at Pegasystems

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