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How to Split User Story

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

We heard a lot of times in Agile about splitting a user story. When this arises, many have questions like what does user story is. Does it mean value? And if does, why anyone wants to split their value? So in today’s article, we will learn all about user story splitting techniques and their benefits along with defining what user story means in brief.

User stories

What is User Story?

In software development, the stories are considered as the description provided by the end-users about the features of software systems. It expresses the value provided by the feature in a system. They are the small packets of an idea that consist of requirements, acceptance criteria, priorities, and needs of the customers. Many get confused in epic, task, and user stories. As we have seen what the user story is let’s see the difference in all three of them. Epic is a bundle of user stories, a single epic consists of numerous user stories which can be divided. Whereas, the task is an activity of any kind required to be performed to complete a particular user story.

Why the splitting is done?

“Defeat them in detail: The divide and conquer strategy. Look at the parts and determine how to control the individual part, create dissension and leverage it.”

The benefits of splitting the user story are

  • Smaller stories are easier to understand making them less complicated

  • Quicker in identification and removal of waste that is not so essential user stories can be removed.

  • This will reduce the extra time and effort of teams engaged while working in the longer stories.

  • Create a sense of accomplishment by completing every story motivating the teams.

  • Provides faster feedback as the stories are completed faster and delivered faster.

split user stories

Now as we know the uses of splitting the user stories let’s move towards the question of

How to split user stories?

We can’t split a user story as we please like dividing it into equal parts or intervals. As the user stories are delivered to customers and provide value to the customers so they needed to be divided into a form where they are shippable and valuable to the customers. Then the second questions arise that how small can we go with splitting the story?

Here we have to follow two main rules

1. Don’t split a user story so small that it may be considered as a task and lose its fundamental value.

2. Split a story in such that it can be completed within a single sprint.

The techniques used for splitting the user stories are

1. Splitting by Role

This is the easiest of all techniques. In this user stories are divided as per the example of the role, as admin, seller, and buyer. While dividing story by role you will observe that most of the effort goes to one user story which is fine as others, in that case, will work as an adaptation.

2. Splitting by Workflow

While working on a user story one may feel that the product involves some workflow. In such cases, the items must be split into workflow steps making every step a separate user story.

3. Splitting by Business Rules

This technique is used in only the stories where there are various clear business rules where the user stories are split on basis of business rules they carry. It consists of conditions or logics of connecting parameters.

In this, the user stories are split based on the category of platform used these platforms may include various operating systems, device types, browsers, etc.

Acceptance criteria are the conditions that must be satisfied by the user story to get accepted by the product owner. So the steps in stories are seen through acceptance criteria pattern then the epics can be split into different criteria creating different user stories from each criterion.

4. Splitting by Platform or Browsers

In this, the user stories are split based onthe category of platform used these platforms may include various operating systems, device types, browsers, etc.

5. Splitting by Zero/One/Many Technique

In some cases the after splitting user stories remains big so in such cases the patterns can be further divided from zero, then one and further multiple patterns.

6. Splitting by mixing all the Techniques

In cases where there is more confusion in the pattern to be split then the best one is to mix them all and split by combing all the above methods as per requirement. This will provide the best and effective method of splitting the user story.

“Business needs people who can think by themselves, who can take initiative and be the solution for a problem.”

By the above techniques most user stories can be split but as stated above enterprises must have people who can think by themselves for a better solution to the problem. While splitting the user story they must analyze breadth and depth then split it.

About Advance Agility

We, at Advance Agility, are the new-age Agile Coaching, Consulting and IT services company. We enable end-to-end Digital Transformation. Agile execution is integral to our being. We are doing SAFe implementation with small, medium and large organization across the globe. Our vision is to be the leading Agile execution player globally. To keep adding value at every process stage. We are on a mission to empower our clients, move from concept to cash in the shortest sustainable lead time by adopting human centric approach to business agility. Embracing the change is in our DNA. Things that keep us apart are Quicker and Seamless execution with End-to-end gamut of services. Our Global presence and Stellar Track Record give us an edge over our competitor.

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