Garren Smith

User Stories Applied by Mike Cohen Book review

26 March 2010 - Johannesburg

I just finished reading the book User Stories Applied by Mike Cohen. Its a great introduction to writing user stories and applying them to an agile environment.

The book is broken into 4 main sections. The first section titles 'Getting started', it introduces the reader to the process of writing stories. I found this really useful. The only thing I did not like was that there was not enough detail of showing how to write a story in the BDD style of AS... I WANT TO... SO THAT, as well as writing acceptance tests/scenario's in the GIVEN... WHEN... THEN... The BDD style of writing a story makes it easy for someone new to stories to write good and useful stories very quickly. It also helps with the implementation and testing of the stories.

The book then goes on to explain 'estimating and planning with stories' and 'frequently discussed topics of stories'. Both of these sections are useful, if not common knowledge to most agilists.

The The final section is a real gem and puts everything into context, Mike goes through an example of planning a project and iterations with user stories. This nicely details the process of creating user roles and writing stories for them. It also shows the process of prioritizing stories and planning a release. This should help any inexperience reader to get started and give new ideas to any experienced agilist.

I recommend anyone who wants to improve their user story writing or wants to learn how to write stories. Its a fantastic starting point and will help you get comfortable with writing stories.

I attached my mindmap of the book. I've only mapped the points I thought were relevant for myself but hopefully they are helpful for you too.

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