There are many reasons for unsuccessful product launches or feature updates, but the most likely reason is that the customer doesn’t see the value. Showing customers how your product provides value should be at the core of your marketing and sales strategies, and it all begins with the user story.
In this article, you’ll find out how to use an Agile user story template to find your product’s unique selling propositions (USPs) and ensure they accommodate the customers’ interests and deliver the desired outcome.
What is a user story template?
A user story template for Excel provides you with an outline of everything your user stories should contain. It gives you a clear idea of what perspective the user story takes, which can inform your Agile software development strategy.
Typically, a user story template will include information such as:
- who the user is
- what value the product or feature offers the user
- why the feature is useful
The template serves as a reminder to keep the user in mind during software development. It captures various perspectives to ensure developers create features for many types of customers. Let’s go through a few other reasons you’d want to use a template.
Why use a user story template?
The benefits of user stories are numerous, as they’re fundamental to the positive reception of software features. The template can influence the development process and provide valuable feedback before the product lands in the hands of customers. As such, you can iron out any issues that arise before going live, mitigating influential customer reviews that could tank your company’s reputation. Addressing bugs and issues can prevent the need for future updates, which can come at the cost of resources and the patience of customers.
With a user story template for Word or Excel, you have an easy-to-replicate formula for success, but more importantly, you can promote team collaboration. With the template in place, teams can come together and resolve issues and suggest positive changes. The danger of underestimating the significance of project management is clear: 67% more projects fail when it’s undervalued. This highlights the need for a clear and systematic approach to project management for getting things done, which applies to user stories.
Since user stories are the building blocks of the Agile framework, automating their workflows on templates can save time and help you refine processes. With automated workflows, you can slash the probability of bottlenecks that hinder productivity.
Though they are building blocks, user stories can also be viewed as stepping stones to software development success. With each completed user story, the team can boost their morale and benefit from the momentum of the finished task. Motivation is key for seeing a project through to completion, so user story mapping with a template could be a recipe for productivity.
What are some examples of user story templates?
1. User story category templates
When you create user stories, you can categorize them according to the types of features you’re developing. For example, you may have several user stories in progress at once, covering everything from payment systems to search functions.
By putting each type of user story into a neat box, you can organize the content so that the team working on the feature can see all the relevant information at a glance. Listing acceptance criteria allows you to set standards for the work to be completed so that your team members have milestones to work toward.
2. User story map templates
Since user stories are an integral part of many companies’ project management systems, it makes sense that you’d want to map them out according to their individual workflows. You can use a template like this to include all of the related tasks and activities involved in the user story so that you can provide more value to the end customer. It will also help keep all the relevant data pertaining to the user task’s progress in a single place.
3. Role-based user story template
User stories aren’t only useful for establishing what the end-user might want from a feature. You can also use these building blocks to refine workflows according to various roles in your company. For example, a CEO might value overall business strategy, whereas a software developer will be more concerned with upskilling. User stories can help delegate tasks to different employees based on how their respective skills and interests align with those of the customer.
If your clients fall within the B2B bracket, this template can also help you tailor your software marketing to employees at different levels within a company. You can use the motivations you defined in your user stories to create compelling marketing content that addresses the heart of your customers’ problems. You can use a user story Word template for basic planning like this since it’s a simple matter of inputting information into a table.
However, if you’d like to do more, the monday.com Work OS has a user story template that might be a better fit.
The monday.com Work OS user story template
The monday.com Work OS user story template in Excel lets you establish the main criteria for your user stories. It provides a framework for defining who the end-user is, what they might want from a feature, and why it would be useful to them.
With the monday.com Work OS, you can pass the completed user stories Excel template to other departments, sharing documents and collaborating remotely. That way, product managers can check-in and make sure everything is running smoothly. The monday.com Work OS timelines can also help you visualize progress, so you can see how far out you are from taking your product to market. Or, you can unveil a new update with your user story feedback.
One of many views on monday.com, Kanban board view is tailor-made for workflows like user stories, as it visualizes the process of completing the small tasks.
If you want a team dashboard to collaborate on user stories, kanban boards can help. They can provide a momentum-building process for ticking off tasks and pushing them through the project pipeline.
Now that you’re more familiar with user story templates, here’s how to get the most out of them.
User story template tips & tricks
If you want to maximize the effectiveness of your user story templates by making them focused and easy to read, there are a few tips to keep in mind.
Create scannable content
To create workflows that drive product development, strive to make each user story concise and scannable. The user story will pass by many team members in various departments, so ideally, it has to communicate the end user’s perspective as succinctly as possible.
The more time it takes each employee to digest the user story content, the slower it will move along the pipeline. Plus, you can avoid misunderstandings with clear writing.
Focus on the “why”
The main focus of your user stories should be the “why.” It isn’t so much a case of what the end software user thinks as much as it is why they think that. Once you understand the ‘why’ of your ideal buyer persona, you can more deeply understand their perspective and create a better product for them based on the user goals.
When you clutter up your user stories with too many technical terms or industry-specific jargon, you reduce the speed of comprehension. Jargon is hard to follow, and this is especially true for non-technical employees who may need to read and understand your user stories.
Acronyms can be useful, but they assume the reader automatically understands what the letters mean. If you include them, ensure that you write out the words in full the first time to prevent confusion.
FAQs about user story templates
How do you structure a user story?
To structure a user story well, clarity must be your guiding compass. Clear language makes user stories easy to digest and promotes cross-team comprehension, which is often key for completing the task. The typical user story contains information about the end-user, any next steps related to software development, and a space for feedback from various team members.
What are the 3 Cs in user stories?
The three Cs in user stories are:
Card refers to the individual user story task, as that’s what most project management systems display it as. Conversation is about the discussions that take place among team members, including suggestions about changes to make based on user story feedback. Confirmation refers to the acceptance of criteria and what it takes to complete the user story in a satisfactory manner.
How do you write an effective user story?
To write an effective user story, you need to eliminate any fluff, filler, and technical jargon from the description that could slow down comprehension. Bear in mind that non-technical employees could well read the user story. As such, clarity is of the utmost importance when creating user stories, as it allows you to build momentum while the team works on the user stories.