Product managers are anticipated to domesticate and preserve relationships with quite a few individuals through the growth course of. Probably the most intimate of those, nevertheless, can be with the product person. You must know them inside out: who they’re, their preferences, and their wants. One method to develop and preserve this relationship is by writing person tales.

Similar to manifestoes and imaginative and prescient paperwork, person tales are an integral a part of product growth. Good person tales are the important thing to driving environment friendly planning and supply, workforce engagement, and buyer satisfaction. Obscure person tales typically point out that the workforce will wrestle to finish duties additional down the road—one thing I’ve witnessed typically in my function as a product supervisor.

My involvement in profitable startups—and a few which have failed—has proven me firsthand the significance of taking the time to craft high quality person tales. This information will enable you and your workforce grasp every aspect and write high quality person tales time and time once more.

What Is a Person Story?

A person story is a small increment of the product represented by way of the worth it is going to provide to the top person. A gaggle of person tales creates an epic, and a single product can comprise a number of epics. A person story might be damaged down additional into duties that extra precisely mirror the work and description how the story can be accomplished. Person tales typically make use of the components Person – Performance – Profit, which might be utilized successfully to most industries and companies.

A large circle filled with small circles, each filled with smaller circles, representing the relationship between tasks, user stories, and epics.

Sometimes, the product supervisor is chargeable for writing person tales, however often this will fall to the product proprietor, Scrum grasp, or engineering supervisor. Ideally, each person story can be reviewed by the individual, or individuals, who will undertake the work.

What Are the Advantages of a Good Person Story?

A great person story has a number of advantages for the workforce and product:

  • Defining the “who” and writing from the person’s perspective ensures that focus is maintained on the shopper, somewhat than on what the workforce needs or prefers.
  • Defining the “what” clarifies the standards for the individual finishing the duty, referred to as the doer. Something that’s not within the story might be thought-about out of scope.
  • Defining the “why” motivates the doer by serving to them perceive the impression the deliverable may have on the person’s life.
  • Defining person worth may also help establish a less-beneficial characteristic earlier than work on it begins—and assets are doubtlessly wasted.

What Does a Good Person Story Look Like?

If, for instance, you might be constructing a home in your buyer, one among your tales can be about creating the enclosing partitions. A nasty person story may say “I want partitions”—figuring out the “what” however nothing extra. A greater one can be: “As a home-owner, I need my home to have enclosing partitions to maintain out the weather, and so the roof doesn’t fall on my head.” I consider, although, that if a person story is actually fulfilling its objective, it ought to clearly and concisely reply the entire following questions:

  • Who’s the person?
  • What does the person need? Why does the person need this?
  • How ought to the engineering workforce interpret this story?
  • Does this story rely on one other story being accomplished beforehand?
  • Does the completion of this story allow one other story within the backlog?
  • What’s the scope (i.e., what are the minimal standards)?
  • How huge is that this story (i.e., the place does it fall on the estimation scale)?

That is the template I take advantage of—it has developed with my product administration information and labored nicely for me for a few years:





Person Persona

Who’s the person?

The person is a wealthy man from Chicago who’s constructing an expensive summer time house within the Hamptons.

To totally envision the person, groups work with many alternative personas, so it is very important be as detailed as potential.

Person Story

What does the person need? Why does the person need this?

“As a home-owner, I wish to have ornamental brick partitions round my house in a diagonal basketweave sample as a result of I’ll see them day by day and would really like them to be a delightful sight.”

To grasp the motivation of the person and their reasoning.


How ought to the engineering workforce interpret this story?

The person needs elaborate partitions, so we have to construct a daily central wall after which have scaffolding within the required fashion (i.e., diagonal basketweave). We will use common bricks for the core wall, however might want to use high-quality decor bricks for the facade layers on either side of the wall.

To interrupt down the story logically into duties, which aids progress-tracking.


Does this story rely on one other story being accomplished beforehand?

In an effort to begin work on this, the inspiration of the home must be accomplished and able to construct upon.

To interpret the place a narrative is within the workstream hierarchy and visualize the general supply timeline.


Does the completion of this story allow one other story within the backlog?

When the partitions are accomplished, we will put up help columns and, lastly, the roof.

To interpret the place a narrative is within the workstream hierarchy and visualize the general supply timeline.

Definition of Achieved

What’s the scope?

There ought to be a steady set of exterior partitions round the home, with a diagonal basketweave-style facade on either side of the wall. Finish-to-end width of the wall ought to be at least 12 inches at any level.

To outline when a narrative is full. The answer might want to embrace every little thing listed right here.

T-shirt Dimension

How huge is that this story?


To loosely estimate supply time for the general story. A extra granular estimation will then be accomplished for every activity by the doer.

A Widespread Person Story Fantasy

In terms of judging whether or not person tales are good or unhealthy, there’s a pervasive delusion that I need to dispel.

Many individuals consider {that a} person story ought to be accomplished in a single dash, and, if it isn’t, it was a foul person story. This isn’t the case. In fact, it’s preferable {that a} person story will get accomplished in a dash (and this ought to be achievable), however the workforce’s bandwidth and exterior components might impression the quantity of labor that may be completed—and it will differ from dash to dash. Additionally, estimates typically assume that each growth workforce member has the identical ability stage throughout all domains; the very fact is, it is going to take much less time for a extra skilled engineer to finish a activity than a junior engineer.

You shouldn’t attempt to craft quick person tales simply in order that they are going to be accomplished shortly; somewhat, your person story ought to search to symbolize a logical increment of worth delivered. Don’t let a schedule dictate your creation of a compelling person story.

Maintain the Person Entrance and Middle in Your Thoughts

I discover tasks are most pleasurable and most profitable when I’m assured in my information of the person—you’ll be able to be taught extra about my experiences on my private weblog. Whether or not I’m pitching new options or deciding on the scope of supply with my workforce, figuring out what the person would say is probably the most dependable method to check my imaginative and prescient. It’s, nevertheless, straightforward to lose contact with the person—and due to this fact the “why”—if I’m not often pondering of them. That is true for almost all of product managers whose focus is commonly pulled to different duties and duties. Writing good person tales may also help you and your workforce members preserve that picture of the person in your thoughts, and even improve your relationship with them.

Additional Studying on the Toptal Product Weblog:

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