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User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development 1st Edition
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From the Publisher
From the Back Cover
Agile requirements: discovering what your users really want. With this book, you will learn to:
- Flexible, quick and practical requirements that work
- Save time and develop better software that meets users' needs
- Gathering user stories -- even when you can't talk to users
- How user stories work, and how they differ from use cases, scenarios, and traditional requirements
- Leveraging user stories as part of planning, scheduling, estimating, and testing
- Ideal for Extreme Programming, Scrum, or any other agile methodology
Thoroughly reviewed and eagerly anticipated by the agile community, User Stories Applied offers a requirements process that saves time, eliminates rework, and leads directly to better software.
The best way to build software that meets users' needs is to begin with "user stories": simple, clear, brief descriptions of functionality that will be valuable to real users. In User Stories Applied, Mike Cohn provides you with a front-to-back blueprint for writing these user stories and weaving them into your development lifecycle.
You'll learn what makes a great user story, and what makes a bad one. You'll discover practical ways to gather user stories, even when you can't speak with your users. Then, once you've compiled your user stories, Cohn shows how to organize them, prioritize them, and use them for planning, management, and testing.
- User role modeling: understanding what users have in common, and where they differ
- Gathering stories: user interviewing, questionnaires, observation, and workshops
- Working with managers, trainers, salespeople and other "proxies"
- Writing user stories for acceptance testing
- Using stories to prioritize, set schedules, and estimate release costs
- Includes end-of-chapter practice questions and exercises
User Stories Applied will be invaluable to every software developer, tester, analyst, and manager working with any agile method: XP, Scrum... or even your own home-grown approach.
Boston, MA 02116
About the Author
Mike Cohn is the founder of Mountain Goat Software, a process and project management consultancy and training firm. With more than twenty years of experience, Mike has been a technology executive in companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 40s, and is a founding member of the Agile Alliance. He frequently contributes to industry-related magazines and presents regularly at conferences. He is the author of User Stories Applied (Addison-Wesley, 2004).
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I'm continuing with the book and have just now found the answer to what an automated test is in Chapter 6, and automated testing was first mentioned in Chapter 2.
I can't speak for all readers obviously, but I find myself doing Google searches to fill in the blanks this book leaves. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of books written on this subject (on Amazon anyways), so it can be difficult to supplement.
1) The book reads like a bunch of individual articles that were bundled together, with a thin attempt to apply a common example application to tie them all together. Instead, you get too many instances where he makes a point that was previously made at least once, if not more, as if it's a new idea. I found the book somewhat disjointed, and difficult to read.
2) The book is dated. You can get everything that's in this book, in a more coherent format, plus additional material, in "Succeeding with Agile". I would have given this book a much higher rating when it was first released, but ten years later, there are better ways to spend your money on the same author.
I really like the concept of keeping requirements simple and putting details in the test case descriptions. I've created a custom field in my project tracking tool do just this. It's a great help to have a definition of all the test cases with pass/fail criteria right there with the statement of what the customer wants. It makes it so easy to know when your done, or as a project lead, to check if a task is really complete (Are the test cases identified with the task written in our automated test suite and passing? If not, you're not done!)
If you can't tell yet, I love this book. I expect to reference it regularly. If you're not satisfied with the way your organization does requirements (and I've yet to meet anyone who does!), READ THIS BOOK. Even if you don't buy in completely to every suggestion, I am certain you will find ideas that you will embrace!
If you are trying to learn the ins and outs of Agile development, I would instead read a book like this one, Agile Excellence for Product Managers: A Guide to Creating Winning Products with Agile Development Teams, and then perhaps keep this book that is strictly about story writing on the shelf for reference when you run into snags (e.g., what do I do if my team isn't motivated?)
The User Story is the structural element of Agile in Terms of Requirements Management and emanated as concept out of Extreme Programming. The book introduces nicely and smoothly what are the "User Stories", the qualities of good "User Stories", the Roles and "Personas" owning the "User Stories", the process to Generate, Estimate, Plan and Test the User Stories.
At the end of each chapter there is a summary of the main ideas but also a series of questions to test understanding (with their answers provided at the end of the book).
The language is smooth and the read is very understandable even for the newcomers in the Agile World. The book offers also a valuable "hands on" feeling of the mechanisms built around user stories through a detailed description of the dialogues that would evolve among team members in a real life example (Part IV).
As a "Bonus", the book offers a short introduction to the Scrum Process (which a widely used process and is a kind of orchestration part for Agile) and to Extreme Programming.
The book can serve both as a textbook for teaching "User Stories" or as a book to comprehend a little deeper the requirements management processes of Agile once the process has been understood ("Essential Scrum" from the same author could be the one).