Who, What, and Why: Tips on how to Write a Person Story

Product managers are anticipated to domesticate and preserve relationships with quite a few individuals through the growth course of. Essentially the most intimate of those, nonetheless, will probably be with the product person. You must know them inside out: who they’re, their preferences, and their wants. One strategy to develop and preserve 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, workforce engagement, and buyer satisfaction. Imprecise person tales usually point out that the workforce 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 aid you and your workforce grasp every factor 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 when it comes to the worth it should supply to the tip person. A gaggle of person tales creates an epic, and a single product can comprise a number of epics. A person story could be damaged down additional into duties that extra precisely replicate the work and description how the story will probably be accomplished. Person tales typically make use of the system Person – Performance – Profit, which could 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.

Usually, the product supervisor is accountable for writing person tales, however often this will likely fall to the product proprietor, Scrum grasp, or engineering supervisor. Ideally, each person story will probably be reviewed by the individual, or individuals, who will undertake the work.

What Are the Advantages of a Good Person Story?

A great person story has a number of advantages for the workforce and product:

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

What Does a Good Person Story Look Like?

If, for instance, you’re constructing a home to your buyer, one among your tales could be about creating the enclosing partitions. A foul person story would possibly say “I want partitions”—figuring out the “what” however nothing extra. A greater one could 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 imagine, although, that if a person story is really fulfilling its goal, 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 workforce 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 large is that this story (i.e., the place does it fall on the estimation scale)?

That is the template I exploit—it has developed with my product administration information and labored effectively 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 totally envision the person, groups work with many alternative personas, so it is very important be as detailed as attainable.

Person Story

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

“As a house owner, I wish to have ornamental brick partitions round my residence in a diagonal basketweave sample as a result of I’ll see them on daily basis and would love them to be a satisfying sight.”

To know the motivation of the person and their reasoning.


How ought to the engineering workforce interpret this story?

The person desires elaborate partitions, so we have to construct a daily 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 a purpose 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 assist columns and, lastly, the roof.

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

Definition of Executed

What’s the scope?

There must 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 must be at least 12 inches at any level.

To outline when a narrative is full. The answer might want to embrace every part listed right here.

T-shirt Measurement

How large is that this story?


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

A Widespread Person Story Fantasy

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

Many individuals imagine {that a} person story must 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 must be achievable), however the workforce’s bandwidth and exterior elements could impression the quantity of labor that may be completed—and this may differ from dash to dash. Additionally, estimates typically assume that each growth workforce member has the identical talent stage throughout all domains; the very fact is, it should take much less time for a extra skilled engineer to finish a process than a junior engineer.

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

Preserve the Person Entrance and Heart in Your Thoughts

I discover tasks are most satisfying and most profitable when I’m assured in my information of the person—you may be taught extra about my experiences on my private weblog. Whether or not I’m pitching new options or deciding on the scope of supply with my workforce, realizing what the person would say is essentially the most dependable strategy to check 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 recurrently 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 also help you and your workforce members preserve that picture of the person in your thoughts, and even improve your relationship with them.

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