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Backlog Confessions – Technical User Stories


Candase Hokanson


These are my confessions…of the backlog. What dirty little secrets are your team’s backlog keeping? Is it abusing or not using spikes appropriately, retroactively updating story point estimates, rolling over stories from sprint to sprint, or even writing user stories where systems are the users? In this talk, we’ll first give a quick overview of common backlog confessions, then we will focus on the technical user story confession. In Agile, we want all of our requirements to be about the user (As a , I want , so that I can .) as they should be because it forces the teams to think about the use and value of every single thing they are building. But what happens if your product doesn’t have direct users, like an API or middleware layer? How does the team and the Product Owner stay true to Agile principles in the backlog (and it’s not by making our systems sentient!)? During this interactive session, we will discuss what a technical user story is, how it differs from the generic user story, and when it should be used. Then we’ll have a few hands-on exercises using a simulated technical project and visual models to identify when the technical user story format is preferable and how to write one.


Candase Hokanson is a Senior Product Manager at Seilevel and a PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner who trains and Coaches, Product Owners, Scrum Masters, and business analysts on Agile approaches as well as championing products in those roles for clients. She works with teams to unite every team member around the common end goal of delivered business value to save up to millions of dollars in development costs for features that won’t be used or that don’t contribute to the anticipated business value. She also works with clients to help scale their Agile practices beyond one team or one pilot to the entire organization.

Recorded At:

Keep Austin Agile 2018

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