An Update: Types of User Stories

Since authoring Agile Q&A: Are there types of User Stories? back in November 2012 I’ve realized a flaw in the content. In that post I referenced 3 types of stories…

  • User Stories
  • Non-User Stories
  • Spikes

Conceptually, I agree with where I was going – however – I have refined the naming of these. It deals with “Non-User Stories.” My perspective has also been influenced by the commentary I offer about defects within the post Agile Q&A: What about defects?.

“Non-User Story” should essentially be an umbrella term that refers to anything in the backlog that is a story for someone other than a defined User Role for the product. Thus, Spikes & Defects could potentially be types of backlog items that are essentially Non-User Stories worth distinguishing separately. So, what does that make “Non-User Stories” in my original context? I call them Foundation Stories. This is now how it all shakes out…

  • User Stories → Demonstrable working software that is valuable to the product’s end-users and can be accepted by the team’s Product Owner.
  • Foundation Stories → Demonstrable working software that could not be completed within the confines of a User Story and can be verified by the team as complete.
  • Spikes → Information or a Decision that is required to move forward with other items within the Product Backlog and can be summarized and verified by the team.

Defects → Demonstrable working software that resolves something about a feature in production that was not working as intended. (Likely a User Story that is worth explicitly tracking as a defect due to the source of why it is in the backlog.)