Top positive review
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The reality is requirements change and evolve!
on 20 January 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.