28 September - 30 September 2016

Churchill College, Cambridge, UK

Writing better stories

Denis Howlett Isocra Consulting Ltd

Session type: Hands-On
Session duration: 90 minutes

Slides from session

The slides used for this session are available to download from here.

About this Hands-On

Writing stories is harder than it looks. Getting them right reduces waste and delivers early return on investment, elegant and well-tested code. Creating good stories that have value, are independent and testable can be learnt, but it doesn’t come from using templates like 'as a xxx I can yyy so that zzz'.

In this workshop, we’ll explore what really makes a good story, how to break big stories into smaller ones, how much effort to put in to a story at each stage. In groups, we will create stories for a real domain using a variety of techniques.

In the first part of the workshop we will establish what makes a good story. We’ll explore acronyms like INVEST and VISIT to characterise the goals of story writing. Using the whole group we’ll brainstorm what’s involved in a seemingly simple story and see how that can be broken down in a variety of ways, some leading to lots of dependencies, others leading to loose coupling, early business value and flexibility.

Next we’ll talk about the challenges of dealing with multiple stakeholders, managing expectations, getting agreement on priorities and dealing with HIPPOs (highly important people’s personal opinions).

In the final - main - section of the workshop, we’ll divide into groups of 3-4 and brainstorm out stories for a real domain. We’ll then prioritise these, break down the highest priority stories and re-prioritise so that everyone can try out the techniques first hand.

At the end of the workshop we will all have learnt useful tips and tricks from each other.

About the Speaker

Denis has more than 25 years' experience in software development, project management and company management. In the last fifteen years he has specialised in agile software development. He has founded 3 startups and has worked in industries as varied as pharmaceuticals, finance, public sector, aerospace and military. He has taught object-oriented design, agile, story writing and regularly teaches courses on practical digital project management. He also continues to develop software and coach others.


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