Working with User Stories

Inga Michaelsen
August 8, 2020

At Aether Automation, we take an agile approach to our development work. We do that by taking our client’s requirements and breaking them down into User Stories.

User Stories describe in natural language a feature our client wants to implement in their Zoho system. They are written from the perspective of the end-user or user of the system and help our development team understand the requirements within these stories’ context. This approach allows the team to capture and prioritize requirements while keeping design options open to develop the best solution for our client.

Basic Concepts of User Stories

The User Story idea is to quickly capture the ‘Who”, “What” and Why” of a product requirement. They are brief and contain no more than 15 words. User Stories build on each other and help us determine the steps along the project’s path. They help ensure that the process and the resulting product will meet our client’s requirements.

How to write a User Story

As already mentioned, User Stories are short and should only capture the essential elements of the requirement.

Here are a few examples :

  • As a Zoho CRM user, I need an integration between the CRM and Shopify so that the Product SKUs I create in the CRM are available on the Shopify website for purchase.
  • As a Zoho CRM user, when a customer purchases a product through our Shopify front end, I should see a corresponding Contact record created or updated in Zoho CRM and the appropriate product SKU associated with both the Contact and the Venue in Zoho CRM.

Why create user stories

It is easy to check a To-Do list when automating at the risk of losing the bigger picture of what the user actually wants and needs. User stories help to keep the focus on the user.

User Stories foster collaboration amongst the team. With the end goal defined, the team can decide together the best solutions to accomplish the goal. This requires the team to think critically and creatively about how to solve the problem.

Working with user stories

Usually, our system analyst, project manager or developer creates the user stories for a deal. During a Kick-Off meeting, the best approach how to tackle the User Stories gets discussed.  The team then discusses the requirements and functionality that each user story requires. Once agreed upon, these requirements are added to the story. And the team goes to work, iterating as needed to find the best solution for the client.

When considering automating processes

If you are considering automating some of your processes in Zoho, start by evaluating the process.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is involved in the process?
  • What is not working right now?
  • What would the ideal process look like?
  • How is it affecting the bigger picture of your operations?

Once you get some clarity of your project, break it down into smaller user stories. If there are a number of users affected, get their input.

We’d be happy to help you with the refinement of your stories and support you with the implementation.

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