• Anil Jaising

5 unique insights from our Virtual Beyond User Stories Workshop


Learners in our Certified Scrum Master and Certified Product Owners always mention that they need a deeper dive into user stories, estimation and planning. How can they provide a date to their organization while keeping true to inspecting and adapting the plan? How can they write and split user stories so that an effective minimum viable product can be created? So we designed a 8 hour 2 day half days course that has the following 5 learning outcomes

  • Develop user personas and identify user proxies where needed

  • Apply effective user stories to product management, development and testing

  • Demonstrate how to split stories to adhere to the INVEST model using 12 different techniques

  • Apply relative estimation techniques to estimate risk, complexity and effort for each user story

  • Plan your sprints and releases based on your user story map

Feedback from our students in our pilot class on Oct 19th gave us deep insights into instructional design for our virtual. Five really stood out


1. The interactions drove home the concepts and learning

No slides, no screen sharing, so how do we add to what the learner's know. A trainer naturally assumes that everyone joining a class is a novice in the topics of the class. Typically a class has a mixed level of knowledge. Using a mix of activities like matching words and images, filling in a sheet with available choices , evaluating powerful questions that a group can analyze and discuss, filling in a jigsaw puzzle, etc. This enables a group to be focused on an activity that they can discover new learning together, learn and teach each other. Teaching others is the best way to learn. Enabling our learners to have those discussions and stepping back as a trainer to observe, facilitate and guide as needed helped us deliver new concepts.


2. Collection of user stories and acceptance criteria formats

We started with an example video streaming product, created a collection of user stories and then built an example product backlog with each story having a wide variety of acceptance criteria. The learners had an opportunity in the workshop to explore our user stories. In practicing to write their own user stories, the learners form groups and add features to the existing products and write stories for those features. The rich set of acceptance criteria helps them add a whole suite of new user stories to support those features. By sharing acceptance criteria formats that will help them with scripting their automated tests was powerful. The idea that user stories can drive scripting automated tests which can be converted to actual working tests even without having to write a single line of code using a technique called Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD)


3. Guidance on splitting stories

We used 16 different user story splitting techniques that the learners discover and adopt to split their own stories. The module on splitting is really powerful, where it starts to dawn how they can now start create a vertical slice of the product that they can release without all the bells and whistles and continue to add a few every sprint to increase their release frequency


4. Priming and delivering the workshop into two half days

We used 16 different user story splitting techniques that the learners discover and adopt to split their own stories. The module on splitting is really powerful, where it starts to dawn how they can now start create a vertical slice of the product that they can release without all the bells and whistles and continue to add a few every sprint to increase their release frequency


5. Use of highly interactive online tools

We have been experimenting with several virtual collaboration tools and for this workshop we choose Mural for whiteboard collaboration, Zoom for polling and of course video conferencing and finally Socrative for quizzes to confirm knowledge. These tools along with Zoom Breakout rooms give us an opportunity to recreate how we would deliver a class in person where learners are encouraged to work and talk with each other at all times and the instructor becomes a guide on the side instead of a sage in the front


If you are interested in one of our Advanced User Stories workshop, reach out



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