User Story Format



Stage 1-2

Agile IQ® Level

Backlog Items



The User Story format is one practice to write Product Backlog items.

Unlike traditional requirements, the User Story is about the user, their needs, and is written at a level that is sufficient for the team to consider and deliver a solution.

The Basics


  • The user. If you use Personas, insert the Persona.
  • The user’s problem that needs solving.
  • The reason the user needs a solution.
user story format 01

The User Story should always articulate a value statement – a reason why the work is needed by the user or user type. Without a reason, the value of doing this work is unknown and so the Product Owner is not easily able to prioritise this work.

Watch out for

The “User” in the User Story is a person, end user, customer or persona. It’s not:

  • You.
  • Your team.
  • Your organisation.
  • An IT system or component.
  • An application.

Don’t use the User Story format when:

  • There is no user. This is a system interaction only.
  • The item is for the organisation.
  • When the work is for the team. E.g. you don’t write “as a team member”.

In these cases, use other formats like:

  • I.N.V.E.S.T.
  • Three Cs – Card. Conversation. Confirmation.


1. Manifesto for Agile Software Development.

2. TDD.

3. Behaviour Driven Development (BDD).

4. Fowler, M. (2013) Given When Then.

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