Friday, October 3, 2014

Userless User Stories

"The Struggle" is real, says TheHackerCIO as he attempts to do "Agile" development in yet another pathological Behemoth corporation.

Central to the idea of the Agile development approach is to drive everything from "User Stories." The point of this is to get Users driving development. To get Users  needs, desires, and requirements into the forefront of developer's attention.

Supposedly, TheHackerCIO has been working in "Agile" environments for several years. But he would love to actually use Agile! Just once. Is that asking too much?

Although they claim to be agile environments, the Pathological Behemoth corporation just forces the round-peg of Waterfall into the square-hole of Agile and let's the chips fall where they may.

For instance, I've seen "User Stories" in the Product Backlog which contained references to the project phase! There are no "phases" in an Agile development. But such is the state of the industry.

The latest outrage is User Stories where there is no actual user! These user stories start off "As a developer I want to ..." and end with so much BS about what non-functional requirement needs to be attained. For example, "As a perfomance engineer, I want to make sure that cache access is less than 10 milliseconds per request."

"As a developer ..."
"As a tester ..."
"As a deployment coordinator ..."
"As a production support resource ..."

Where the hell is the user?

If anyone doubts the stupidity of this kind of approach, I have a challenge for them! Take up this "user story" from my product backlog and start a sprint on it. Hell, I'll give you two weeks. Then we can look at your code.

On this same subject I ran across another blogger who objects. I'm not surprised, since anyone sane would object. But I point my readers to it here.

I Remain,



  1. This is spot on

  2. Reviewing the agile manifesto ( there is no mention of user stories. Whoever told you that they were central to agile sold you a bill of goods.

  3. Sorry, TheHackerCIO doesn't agree with you! There are a lot of things that aren't mentioned in the "principles," and that doesn't make them non-central. For instance, TDD is not in the principles. But I'd suggest that a shop with no product-backlog of user stories, no test-driven development, and with an occasional visit to the business is hardly following the Agile manifesto. User Stories have been central to the Agile way for quite some time.