Making Sense of User Stories

An in-depth look at writing, understanding, and working with user stories
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  • Lectures 31
  • Length 2 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 1/2016 English

Course Description

Discover the cure for the common course as we take you on a tour through the world of user stories. We’ll have fun along the way (did you know user stories are like video games?), and we’ll dive into the essential terms and concepts you’ll need to effectively apply user stories to your projects.

In this course, you’ll learn:

  • What a user story is and how they can make projects more successful
  • Benefits of user stories
  • Roles and responsibilities in user stories
  • How to identify, analyze, and build personas
  • How to use those personas to write stories that will really meet your users’ needs
  • The 3 C's of a good user story (Card, Conversation, and Confirmation)
  • How to use the 3 C's to write your stories
  • All about epics and themes
  • How to use themes to organize your stories
  • How to use INVEST to make sure your stories are of good quality
  • Techniques to effectively break down epics into smaller stories

And through the whole class, we’ll use real world examples and exercises to help reinforce the ideas and give you the chance to practice. In this short course, you’ll get the skills you need to start applying user stories to your projects right away.

What are the requirements?

  • No specialized knowledge or prior experience needed – we’ll go through everything you need to know

What am I going to get from this course?

  • A practical (not theoretical) understanding of user stories and how to use them out there in the real world
  • A chance to practice these skills through exercises and solutions
  • The knowledge you’ll need to apply user stories to your projects and use them effectively
  • The ability to use personas to help you find and focus your user stories
  • A deep understanding of the 3 C’s model, and the knowledge to apply that model to your stories
  • The knowledge you need to build high quality stories, using the INVEST criteria
  • Techniques to split large stories into smaller, more manageable ones
  • A fun learning experience, complete with examples, exercises, and solutions

Who is the target audience?

  • Business Analysts
  • Product Owners
  • Project Managers
  • Anyone who wants an in-depth understanding of user stories and how they can help projects succeed

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction

We'll give you an overview of the goals and content of the course


An introduction to a sample problem we'll use throughout the course. We'll come back to this example over and over, as we go through the different concepts and ideas in the class. We'll use it for exercises as well, to tie all of the ideas together.

Section 2: Overview of User Stories

You'll learn what a user story is, and how it's different from the more formal approach we've traditionally taken. We'll also talk about one of the primary purposes and benefits of a user story - building a common understanding among all team members.


In this section we'll talk about how user stories are like video games. We'll have some fun with this, but there's actually a really good parallel between the two, and the analogy can help explain what user stories are and how they're different.


You'll learn about the benefits that user stories can bring to your team and your projects.


User stories are a little different in that they are more of a collaborative approach than traditional requirements specifications. In this section, you'll gain an understanding of roles and responsibilities in user story creation, prioritization, and use.

Section 3: Personas

Personas help us to understand our users' worlds a little better, and to write stories that more closely meet our users' needs. In this section, we'll explore personas in depth. You'll learn what a persona is and how they can help projects succeed. You'll also learn a 5 step process you can use to identify, analyze, and build personas effectively. We'll go through the first two steps in this lecture, and continue with step 3 in the next lecture. We'll use our example problem domain throughout the whole discussion, so by the end of this piece of the class, we will have defined personas we can use in our example.


In this section, we'll continue going through the 5 step process of finding, analyzing, and building personas.


We'll wrap up our discussion of the persona definition process, going through the final step. At the end of this lecture, we'll have personas we can use in our example project.


Practice identifying and building personas through an exercise based on our example project.


Here's our solution to the previous exercise. There are no right or wrong answers with something like personas, but this will give you one possible solution.

Section 4: Building User Stories with the 3 C's

In this section, you'll learn about a model called the 3 C's, which stands for Card, Conversation, and Confirmation. It helps us think about all 3 pieces of a story, and remember that a good user story is much more than the card it is written on. This lecture is an overview of the 3 C's model. In the next few lectures, we'll explore each of the C's in more detail.


This lecture is an in-depth look at the first C of a user story, the Card it is written on. You'll learn what should (and shouldn't) go on the card, and all about the typical format a user story is written in.


Put the concepts from the previous lesson into practice, defining user stories for the personas you created in the last exercise.


Our solution to the user stories exercise


In this lecture, you'll learn about the second (and possibly the most important) of the 3 C's. Conversation is very important with user stories - you'll learn why, and some tips and tricks for making communication as effective as possible.


We'll take an in-depth look at the final C, Confirmation. You may also hear the term "acceptance criteria." These are the specific conditions that must be met in order for the business to accept the story. In this lesson, you'll learn what acceptance criteria are, how to define them, and what should and shouldn't go into the criteria.


Practice defining acceptance criteria by creating some for the user stories from the last exercise.


Our solution to this exercise, defining some acceptance criteria for our user stories.


We'll wrap up this section of the course with a discussion of epics and themes. You'll learn what an epic is and what its characteristics are. You'll also learn what a theme is, and how you can use themes to organize your user stories.

Section 5: Building Quality into the Stories with INVEST

This section of the class is all about quality. As we're building the stories, we want to be sure that they're good, and we can use a model called the INVEST criteria to do that. You'll learn what INVEST is and all about the first 2 criteria (a good story should be Independent and Negotiable).


We'll continue our discussion of INVEST by diving into the details of the third criteria (Valuable).


We'll wrap up our INVEST discussion by getting into the details of the last 3 criteria (Estimable, Small, and Testable).


Practice using the INVEST criteria by looking at some example stories and deciding how (or if) they can be improved.


Our assessment of how the stories can be improved to better meet INVEST.

Section 6: Splitting Stories

In this lecture, you'll learn some techniques for breaking large stories and epics down into smaller stories that meet the INVEST criteria.


Learn additional techniques to break down large stories and epics into smaller stories.


Use one of the techniques you just leaned to split a large story into smaller ones.


Our solution to splitting the story.

Section 7: Summary of the Course

We'll review all the key concepts of the course, from beginning to end.

Course Summary - Downloadable PDF

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Instructor Biography

Luminescence Training, The cure for the common course

We are a group of business and IT professionals who are passionate about what we do, and passionate about teaching others. We’ve helped companies large and small in areas such as strategic planning, project and program management, requirements elicitation and management, and business modeling and architecture, and we’re taking some of our most popular courses and making them available on Udemy.

We call ourselves the cure for the common course - we believe learning should be fun, not forced. It should be relevant and real-world. Our goal is to take complex concepts and ideas and make them simple. We want to help you take these ideas and immediately apply them to real projects in real companies.

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