Wednesday, 22 February 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Fifty quick ideas to improve your user stories by Gojko Adzic and David Evans

BOOK REVIEW: Fifty quick ideas to improve your user stories by Gojko Adzic and David Evans

It has taken a while since my last book review to get the time to do much reading with moving. But here is my round up of "Fifty quick ideas to improve your user stories" by Gojko Adzic and David Evans

Formats: Paperback, ePub, Mobi, PDF

Where can I get it? From Leanpub, Amazon or any good bookshop.
Who is it for? Anyone involved in a software development project working in an iterative manner. As long as they understand some of the basics around user stories, e.g. they know what INVEST stands for.
What's it about? As the title suggests "how to improve user stories", but it is a bit more than that. It covers the whole process including planning and iterative delivery activities.

What's the book like? Each double page spread follows a similar style starting with an introduction to a new tip. Often illustrated with an anecdote from the author's experience. Next is a description of the key benefits of the idea behind the tip. Finally, it finishes with some practical ideas on how to make it work. This takes the theory and presents it in ways that you can apply it for whatever you are working on

The chapters follow the life cycle of a user story:
  • Creating stories
  • Planning with stories
  • Discussing stories
  • Splitting stories
  • Managing Iterative Delivery
The story splitting chapter was my favourite section. These tips cover some of the real gnarly issues in non-trivial agile projects. For example, putting off implementing a reporting system until quarterly report is due and developing the key functionality generating the data as text files. These can then be imported to a new infrastructure once ready.

The tip introductions are really good at giving you a grounding in the context that Gojko and David have developed their experience. This is an important factor as it allows the reader to gauge what factors are similar in their context. All forms of advice (otherwise known as "best practice") need to be adapted to the real world context they will be used in.
To sum up, lots of practical tips to help get value delivered. For example, don't get stuck in a rut with stories that aren't appropriate like technical tasks. If you want to know more about the book topics then check out this cool mind map of the book.

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