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User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development (Addison Wesley Signature Series) [Paperback]

Mike Cohn
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Mar 2004 0321205685 978-0321205681 1

The concept of user stories has its roots as one of the main tenets of Extreme Programming. In simple terms, user stories represent an effective means of gathering requirements from the customer (roughly akin to use cases). This book describes user stories and demonstrates how they can be used to properly plan, manage, and test software development projects. The book highlights both successful and unsuccessful implementations of the concept, and provides sets of questions and exercises that drive home its main points. After absorbing the lessons in this book, readers will be able to introduce user stories in their organizations as an effective means of determining precisely what is required of a software application.

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User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development (Addison Wesley Signature Series) + Agile Estimating and Planning (Robert C. Martin) + Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum (Addison-Wesley Signature)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (1 Mar 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321205685
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321205681
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 17.8 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

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

ISBN: 0-321-20568-5

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).

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The reality is requirements change and evolve! 20 Jan 2005
This book delivers a practical, lightweight solution to requirements gathering and management. User stories can stand-alone in their own right, or can be used in conjunction with other agile methodologies or techniques. In fact Cohn gives examples of how user stories have been implemented in more traditional IEEE 830 projects with strict audit requirements.
User stories are an agile practice. Like other agile practices, they put the customer at the heart of the process. Agile practices work by communication; by involving the customer they focus on business value. Cohn keeps this underlying principle at the centre of his arguments for adopting user stories.
The book contains information not only about writing user stories but how they fit into, and drive, agile development processes. Cohn favours the SCRUM methodology and XP practices. These are referred to throughout the text and are summarized in the books Appendices.
At the end of each chapter a summary of responsibilities for developers and customers (along with a summary and a set of questions) are given. If nothing else these will act as a point of discussion, particularly with those who subscribe to the 'big up front design' school of thought.
All chapters are short and to the point. The sections are broken up well and the book gains from having a simple, working example given in part 4 showing how the techniques in the first 3 sections are applied to a practical situation.
My opinion is that this is an excellent book, anyone who is undertaking, or involved, an IT project would do well to read this. If nothing else it offers an alternative to 'traditional' waterfall-orientated processes, or no formal requirements management at all (beer-mat specifications).
As a personal recommendation, I would suggest looking at the other titles in the Addison Wesley Signature Series.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More then a story on stories 24 July 2004
Mike Cohn is one of the founding members of the Agile Alliance. This long term commitment to the agile movement and agile thinking shows in his writings, and this book is no exception.
The book addresses user stories, it investigates the user story from different perspectives, explains thoroughly how to get to the point where the story reaches its conclusion. Then the book goes further. It expands the role of a story into planning of releases and products, making it the centre of software or product development.
A very readable book not only if you want to develop practices around stories, but also if you need an insight in the impact of implementing agile practices in your environment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All you ever need to know about User Stories ! 20 Mar 2004
Mike Cohn's book User Stories Applied is an excellent handbook on how to write User Stories and their role in agile software development. The book covers planning and tracking team velocity against the plan, including how to get started with these techniques. Mike really knows his subject and his book captures useful hints and tips for Customers and Developers based on practical experience with User Stories. I recommend this book to any team who want to get the best from the application of User Stories on their projects.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Brilliance 3 April 2009
I have been researching in the LEAN/AGILE spaces for the last year in regard to implementation in a large software development organization. This book brings a large amount of practical advice in regard to the use and disciplines of User Stories to replace more traditional 'behemoth' requirements gathering.

The book assumes no previous experience of AGILE processes and would indeed serve most admirably as a general introduction to AGILE analysis. As any sensible reader you will not subscribe to all arguments/points in the book, indeed it encourages you not to and adapt as necessary but places it in overall context that is incredibly simple and clear to understand. Including a chapter dedicated to describing some warning signals or 'bad smells' that something is amiss.

In short it tells you what User Stories are, how to fish for them, how to write good ones, how to estimate on them and how to manage them in terms of overall delivery - Cohn leaves no stone unturned. The writing style is friendly, informal, humorous in points and leaves you at the end with a strong feeling of accomplishment that comes with learning skills you know you are going to use again and again.

I heartily recommend this book for anyone - experienced Analysts to novice computer hobbyist's that are interested in streamlining their development efforts and truly trying to deliver what a customer wants - fantastic piece of work.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Why are all Agile books about web development? 29 Aug 2010
Like many other people in the IT world Ia m trying to get to grips with Agile, Scrum and how it can be applied in my workplace. The frustrating thing is that nearly every book I look at is based on web applications and this book is no exception. If, like me, you work in embedded systems then this book is of little use. However it is a good primer for Use Stories although it still leaves me unconvinced that Use Cases are not still the better way to go. The section on Acceptance testing was plain laughable. As a test manager I can say that the tests listed in the examples were incredibly basic, but even worse they didn't even cover some very important situations. I can say from experience that if only these acceptance tests were being applied by the user/acceptor it is extremely likely that you will end up with a system that is in theory accepted but completely unacceptable.

However, as I said a good primer and easy to read just left me wanting SO much more.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars INVEST in this book, you won't be sorry
INVEST in this book, you won't be sorry. Another clear and concise how-to book from Cohn. Would have liked to see more on acceptance criteria.
Published 3 months ago by hynoki
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction into User Stories and how to Plan a Project
This book provides a comprehensive review of User Stories, how to write them and how to plan. Very easy to follow and very readable.
Published 8 months ago by JP
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Like the overview but could do with a better summary of each topic . . . . . . .
Published 11 months ago by A C Bork
5.0 out of 5 stars User Stories - Great book!
This book is a great read and anyone who wants to know all about user stories , this book is a must! Read more
Published on 6 Dec 2011 by Beakilco
5.0 out of 5 stars Very comprehensive
I have not completed the book yet but from what I have read it covers the subject matter very comprehensively.
Published on 29 Jun 2011 by Hadrian Parry
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Clear and easy to read primer for User Stories and usingthem with Scrums.

I recommed this for first timers.
Published on 21 Dec 2010 by AGR
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant example based book
I have never practiced any agile development, but I am in the process of understanding how it works - in practise. Read more
Published on 2 Aug 2010 by Ravn
4.0 out of 5 stars Like Ronseal ... does what it says on the tin
An easy read well presented ... I am not a very fast reader ... but got through it in super quick time. Read more
Published on 27 April 2010 by A Normal Dad
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
If you want to know exactly how to apply user stories in your projects planning and execution this is the right book for you.
Published on 28 Dec 2009 by Carlos Santos
5.0 out of 5 stars A very practical guide to getting started with Agile
We're just launching a new project, and we'll be using Agile for the first time. I've found this book very useful for telling me exactly what I need to do when. Read more
Published on 22 Sep 2008 by S. Jack
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