Scrum Masters’ Guide to User Story Task Breakdown Example

Scrum Masters’ Guide to User Story Task Breakdown Example

The adoption of Agile methodology by small and large businesses is increasing immensely. Thus, the Scrum masters more often find it hard to cope with the new processes involved in agile methodology. So, we’ll begin with a full guide to user story task breakdown example, as it’s one of the initial and the most vital stages of agile project management. 

As a Scrum Master, you must have faced the hassle of giving accurate estimations on delivery or costs, etc. More or less it all starts with the breakdown of user stories. 

Therefore, in this blog, you’ll explore a complete Scrum Masters’ Guide to User Story Task Breakdown Example.

Let’s get into it!

What are User Stories?

what-are-user-stories

User stories can be defined as: 

“The list of requirements or simple description of features as per the user/customer’s perspective.”

The story narrated by the user about what he/she wants in the product is called user stories. They usually follow a set pattern. That is:

 As a < type of user >, I want < some goal > so that < some reason >.

For example: 

 As a Brand Owner, I want to launch a marketing campaign so that I can get more customers 

Thus, user stories answer three basic questions:

  • Who – Who wants something?
  • What- What do they want?
  • Why- Why do they want it?

The last question is a great help for the teams to set their goals according to the person’s needs. 

The users must be clear on their needs and wants so that the team can sketch out the tasks accordingly. 

Now, there can be more than one goal and more than one reason as well. It just depends on the type of users and their specific requirements. 

Thus, these user stories help the Scrum Masters with what their clients want them to do. Later on, they plan their strategies and timelines accordingly. 

However, the number of details that are to be added in user stories and how you can drive out the important features is a bit tricky. Thus, in this article, we’ll provide a full guide on the breakdown of user stories with an example. 

User Story Task Breakdown Example 

Breaking down user stories is a team effort. Of course, being a scrum master you’ve more load on your shoulders however the development team also needs to sit and understand the technicalities of the requirements, to send them to backlog accurately. 

Remember that user stories lead to the breakdown of tasks and thus the execution of the products. Therefore, it is pivotal to break them down properly. There are a few things to remember before you break down the stories. Including:

  1. Keep them short and Simple- Don’t make the requirements too long, they should be precise and long enough to be completed in a few days.
  2. Clearly Define the Tasks- Don’t be vague and ambiguous when it comes to delivering the tasks that need to be done. Be clear and precise with them.
  3. Maintain a Checklist- With tons of requirements by the users, there is always a chance of missing out on some details. Thus, always maintain a checklist and keep on modifying it as new requirements pop in at the later stages. A checklist would remove the chances of missing out on any important user requirement. 

So, let’s take a user story task breakdown example. The following came as a user story requirement from a brand owner

“As a brand owner, I want to launch a marketing campaign on social media channels, to increase my website’s traffic and get more customers.”

 Thus, to address this requirement, the marketing team will sit together to find effective solutions for it and follow the following steps to break down the user stories into tasks.

Step 1: Create an Acceptance Criteria

An acceptance criterion can be defined as the set criteria that should be fulfilled for the user stories to be deemed as completed. You should define a separate acceptance criterion for each user story. 

In the example taken, the acceptance criteria would follow this pattern:

“Scenario: (explain scenario). Given (how things begin), when (action taken), then (outcome of taking action).”

In our example,

Scenario: The brand owner wants the best social media campaign to get maximum customers. 

Given that we’ve picked a different type of content for their two main social media handles

Once the campaign is launched

The number of people diverting is increased

Step 2: Decide on the Buyer’s Persona

Conduct proper research to know who’s the brand’s target audience and its competitors as well. Having an effective Buyer’s Persona is the key to launching a successful campaign. 

Step 3: Break them down into tasks

Once you’ve got the acceptance criteria and buyer’s persona ready, it’s time to break down the user stories into tasks. 

So, from the above example, some of the tasks that your team must do to meet the acceptance criteria are:

  1. Social media analytics
  2. Competitor analysis
  3. Social listing
  4. Content for the social media channels being used
  5. Filtering the posts according to the audience
  6. Scheduling updates

Then make a review of the task breakdown and make sure it helps you achieve your acceptance criteria as well. If it’s not met then try to expand the scope and add relevant tasks to it.

Keep on repeating this exercise till you feel like the user stories have met the definition of done. Once you get to that point then move on to the next step.

Step 4: Mapping out the stories 

User story mapping can be defined as: 

 “The visualization of all the tasks that should be completed as a part of the product execution journey”

So, in this step, all the tasks are mapped out to effectively visualize the user journey. Usually, a Gantt Chart or Kanban board is used for this purpose. 

Tips for Breakdown of User Stories 

Some tips for splitting stories to create an effective breakdown are:

1. Breakdown by capabilities

Breakdown as per the capabilities is the splitting of large features into smaller ones. Such splitting helps to identify the user needs better.

2. Breakdown by user roles

This involves splitting or breaking down the stories as per the roles of different users. For example, the way a tech person handles software is completely different from that of a student. Thus, splitting it accordingly is more effective for the execution of the project. 

3. Breakdown by user personas

Different individuals handle the same software in different ways. Thus, it is efficient to break down the user stories as per the personas of different people. 

4. Breakdown by devices

Make sure that your breakdown of tasks is done in a way that satisfies the needs of all the users with different devices. Be it iPhone, mac, or android, the product or content should be effective for all. 

Benefits of having User Stories Breakdown

benefits-of-user-stories

It is kind of evident from the user story task breakdown example that these stories can benefit the whole development a lot. However, some key benefits are:

1. Increased Focused and Clarity 

The breakdown of the stories helps to understand the features better by splitting them apart. Thus, it helps to increase focus and clarity. The ambiguity or missing out of any important requirement by the user is reduced to zero. 

2. Increased Collaboration

The user story task breakdown example also identified that this method would ultimately help the whole team to sit together and collaborate more with each other. As the Scrum Master and the development team, both work hand in hand to split down the features. 

3. Easy to understand and comprehend

The breakdown also benefits in making it easier to understand and comprehend the user stories. Moreover, it ultimately aids in satisfying the customers’ needs better. 

4. Lesser chances of errors

Have you ever been in a situation where the user is furious because you missed out on a requirement in the bundle of requirements given?

Well, it’s pretty normal, however, if you spend enough time on splitting up the user stories, there is a lesser chance of this error occurring. 

5. Better satisfaction of Stakeholder demands

Isn’t that obvious? 

Once you meet the acceptance criteria and meet all stakeholder’s demands effectively, their satisfaction level is higher. There are fewer chances of having unhappy and furious stakeholders.

Conclusion 

From this blog, we can conclude that user stories are not just a mere list of requirements but they are the true essence to measure successful project planning. In any business, clients are of foremost importance, therefore it is necessary to meet their demands accurately. 

Thus, the user story task breakdown example has made it evident that such a breakdown will help to understand the user needs better and ultimately help in the effective execution of the project.

So, start breaking down your user stories now to meet the acceptance criteria effectively.

We wish you the best of luck! 

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