March 25, 2023

Product managers are anticipated to domesticate and keep relationships with quite a few individuals through the growth course of. Probably the most intimate of those, nonetheless, can be with the product person. You must know them inside out: who they’re, their preferences, and their wants. One approach to develop and keep this relationship is by writing person tales.

Identical to manifestoes and imaginative and prescient paperwork, person tales are an integral a part of product growth. Good person tales are the important thing to driving environment friendly planning and supply, group engagement, and buyer satisfaction. Imprecise person tales usually point out that the group will wrestle to finish duties additional down the road—one thing I’ve witnessed usually in my function as a product supervisor.

My involvement in profitable startups—and a few which have failed—has proven me firsthand the significance of taking the time to craft high quality person tales. This information will assist you to and your group grasp every aspect and write high quality person tales time and time once more.

What Is a Person Story?

A person story is a small increment of the product represented by way of the worth it can supply to the tip person. A bunch of person tales creates an epic, and a single product can comprise a number of epics. A person story might be damaged down additional into duties that extra precisely mirror the work and description how the story can be accomplished. Person tales usually make use of the components Person – Performance – Profit, which might be utilized successfully to most industries and companies.

A large circle filled with small circles, each filled with smaller circles, representing the relationship between tasks, user stories, and epics.

Sometimes, the product supervisor is liable for writing person tales, however sometimes this will likely fall to the product proprietor, Scrum grasp, or engineering supervisor. Ideally, each person story can be reviewed by the particular person, or individuals, who will undertake the work.

What Are the Advantages of a Good Person Story?

A superb person story has a number of advantages for the group and product:

  • Defining the “who” and writing from the person’s perspective ensures that focus is maintained on the shopper, fairly than on what the group desires or prefers.
  • Defining the “what” clarifies the standards for the particular person finishing the duty, often called the doer. Something that’s not within the story might be thought of out of scope.
  • Defining the “why” motivates the doer by serving to them perceive the influence the deliverable may have on the person’s life.
  • Defining person worth may help establish a less-beneficial function earlier than work on it begins—and assets are probably wasted.

What Does a Good Person Story Look Like?

If, for instance, you might be constructing a home in your buyer, one in every of your tales can be about creating the enclosing partitions. A foul person story may say “I want partitions”—figuring out the “what” however nothing extra. A greater one can be: “As a house owner, I need my home to have enclosing partitions to maintain out the weather, and so the roof doesn’t fall on my head.” I consider, although, that if a person story is actually fulfilling its function, it ought to clearly and concisely reply all the following questions:

  • Who’s the person?
  • What does the person need? Why does the person need this?
  • How ought to the engineering group interpret this story?
  • Does this story rely on one other story being accomplished beforehand?
  • Does the completion of this story allow one other story within the backlog?
  • What’s the scope (i.e., what are the minimal standards)?
  • How huge is that this story (i.e., the place does it fall on the estimation scale)?

That is the template I take advantage of—it has advanced with my product administration information and labored properly for me for a few years:





Person Persona

Who’s the person?

The person is a wealthy man from Chicago who’s constructing an expensive summer time residence within the Hamptons.

To completely envision the person, groups work with many various personas, so you will need to be as detailed as attainable.

Person Story

What does the person need? Why does the person need this?

“As a house owner, I want to have ornamental brick partitions round my residence in a diagonal basketweave sample as a result of I’ll see them day-after-day and would love them to be a delightful sight.”

To know the motivation of the person and their reasoning.


How ought to the engineering group interpret this story?

The person desires elaborate partitions, so we have to construct an everyday central wall after which have scaffolding within the required type (i.e., diagonal basketweave). We will use common bricks for the core wall, however might want to use high-quality decor bricks for the facade layers on either side of the wall.

To interrupt down the story logically into duties, which aids progress-tracking.


Does this story rely on one other story being accomplished beforehand?

With the intention to begin work on this, the muse of the home must be accomplished and able to construct upon.

To interpret the place a narrative is within the workstream hierarchy and visualize the general supply timeline.


Does the completion of this story allow one other story within the backlog?

When the partitions are accomplished, we will put up help columns and, lastly, the roof.

To interpret the place a narrative is within the workstream hierarchy and visualize the general supply timeline.

Definition of Achieved

What’s the scope?

There needs to be a steady set of exterior partitions round the home, with a diagonal basketweave-style facade on either side of the wall. Finish-to-end width of the wall needs to be at least 12 inches at any level.

To outline when a narrative is full. The answer might want to embody every little thing listed right here.

T-shirt Measurement

How huge is that this story?


To loosely estimate supply time for the general story. A extra granular estimation will then be accomplished for every job by the doer.

A Frequent Person Story Fable

In relation to judging whether or not person tales are good or unhealthy, there’s a pervasive fable that I need to dispel.

Many individuals consider {that a} person story needs to be accomplished in a single dash, and, if it isn’t, it was a nasty person story. This isn’t the case. In fact, it’s preferable {that a} person story will get accomplished in a dash (and this needs to be achievable), however the group’s bandwidth and exterior components might influence the quantity of labor that may be achieved—and this may range from dash to dash. Additionally, estimates usually assume that each growth group member has the identical talent stage throughout all domains; the actual fact is, it can take much less time for a extra skilled engineer to finish a job than a junior engineer.

You shouldn’t attempt to craft brief person tales simply in order that they are going to be accomplished shortly; fairly, your person story ought to search to characterize a logical increment of worth delivered. Don’t let a schedule dictate your creation of a compelling person story.

Hold the Person Entrance and Middle in Your Thoughts

I discover tasks are most satisfying and most profitable when I’m assured in my information of the person—you’ll be able to study extra about my experiences on my personal blog. Whether or not I’m pitching new options or deciding on the scope of supply with my group, figuring out what the person would say is essentially the most dependable approach to take a look at my imaginative and prescient. It’s, nonetheless, straightforward to lose contact with the person—and due to this fact the “why”—if I’m not usually pondering of them. That is true for almost all of product managers whose focus is commonly pulled to different duties and duties. Writing good person tales may help you and your group members keep that picture of the person in your thoughts, and even improve your relationship with them.

Additional Studying on the Toptal Product Weblog: