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User Stories: Why are they essential for software development?

Software development is a challenging road. Depending on the complexity of the program, it may be months or even years from the first brainstorming meeting until the product is finally ready.

Thus, it is important to adopt the most efficient methodologies possible, in order to shorten development time, delivering a quality product, without errors and whose construction was based on rigour. We recently addressed the importance of Testing Personas to the software testing process and today we focus on User Stories.

User Stories are short, simple descriptions of a feature from the point of view of the person who will be using the software, for example, a user or client. That is, it is the path that a visitor goes through to perform the action he or she has as a goal. As a rule, User Stories follow this default template:

As user type>, I want <goal> to <purpose>.

The purpose of a User Story is to articulate how a feature will serve the user or client. An example of a User Story relevant to the development of a particular software might be as follows:

"As an iPhone user, I should be able to sign in to my Facebook account through the mobile app and invite my Facebook friends to use the app."

On the other hand, this action generates another user story:

"iPhone user Facebook friends should receive an invitation email link so they can subscribe."

Another example of a user story would be:

"As the account administrator, I can back up all the information in the database."

Why is it important to create User Stories?

For development teams, user stories may seem like an additional, and sometimes unnecessary, step. However, user stories give context and associate tasks with the value that these tasks bring. Among other advantages, User Stories have the following benefits:

Stories focus on the user. A task list keeps programmers focused on what needs to be done, but user stories keep the team focused on troubleshooting real users.

Stories promote collaboration and creativity. With the final goal set, the team can work together to decide how to achieve the goal of the user. On the other hand, this collaboration turns out to be an incentive to think critically and creatively together, which is usually advantageous.

Finally, user stories help the team build priorities. By clearly defining the user stories and processes that need to be developed, the team needs to prioritize more clearly the resources and value that the user will take from them. You will, therefore, be better able to define what should be developed first or not.

The use of user stories is not a mandatory methodology, but can be very useful in developing software in the most efficient way possible.

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