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Agile User Story Splitting by Data Variations and Boundaries

Rachael Wilterdink Rachael Wilterdink  |  
Jul 07, 2020
 
In this blog series, Rachael Wilterdink (CBAP, PMI-PBA, PSM I, CSM) dives into 25 different techniques for approaching story splitting that she has used throughout her career. Make sure to stop by each week to catch all 25!

This is a two-for-one special. Joking aside, data is another great way to approach splitting User Stories.

Variations in data would be something like different options for language or location. Stories based on data boundaries are those that have different attributes for the same entity.
 

Data Variations

Let’s revisit my fictional Recipe app. If you recall, we added the ability to view suggested adult beverage pairings with each of our recipes (for grown-ups only). Now I have decided to add a wine search option, and I want users to be able to search by entrée type, grape varietal, or by country. The big story I will be breaking down is:
 
data variations 1

I could split this out into stories as follows:
 
data variations 2
data variations 3
data variations 4
 

Data Boundaries

An example of splitting stories by data boundaries could be different parts of a Recipe. The big story for this would be:
 
data boundaries 1

The first story might only contain a few pieces of information about a Recipe, perhaps the name of it, and a brief description. Subsequent stories would add more pieces of information for a recipe. Here are some examples:
 
data boundaries 2
data boundaries 3
data boundaries 4
 
As you can see, these are both very straight-forward and logical ways to split out User Stories.

But, as always, don’t stop your analysis there.
 

Questions to ask:

  • What data variations are needed to start with? Do you need them all, or could you start with a sub-set?
  • What are the most common options that you need to care about?
  • What data elements are most essential to making your story valuable?
  • Are there any data elements you can leave out?

Let me know if you’ve used either of these approaches to splitting User Stories, and how they worked for you.

The next approach is going to be a little bit different, so I hope you’ll join me next time when I talk about Spikes.
 
Agile

 

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