Better User Stories

STOP making mistakes that cause delays, make life frustrating, and stop you doing your best work. -DON'T lose hours in backlog refinement meetings. -STOP endless discussions about what a story needs to do. -SPLIT stories once… don't split them again, and again, and again.

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Module 1

  • What Stories Are: This module walks you through why user stories are so important, and looks at some of the key functions that are too often overlooked. This is the perfect refresher of the important foundations of user stories, and makes a great communication tool for explaining their importance to team members and stakeholders.

Module 2

  • Users, User Roles and Personas: Many complex projects need to service the needs of multiple users. The sheer amount of variables within and across different users makes this a challenge. This module shows you how to clearly define stories for different user groups without getting bogged down in too much detail, or missing key functionality.

Module 3

  • Story-Mapping and Story-Writing Workshops: If you don’t know how to run a successful story-writing workshop you can end up with an expensive, time-wasting exercise that doesn’t tell you how to deliver what a customer really wants. This module guides you step-by-step in how to run a great workshop so you can highlight gaps, prioritize tasks and choose only the stories that must be present to achieve the minimum viable product.

Module 4

  • Adding Detail with Conditions of Satisfaction of Acceptance Criteria: There is a systematic way of making sure that you have enough detail, at the right time without stifling creativity. In this module you'll solve the confusion around Epics and Themes. You'll learn practical approached for adding details including knowing when to stop and how to handle a team that wants too much detail. You'll also be able to stop stories from turning into non-agile stage-gate placeholders.

Module 5

  • INVEST in Good Stories: The INVEST acronym: Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimatable, Sized Appropriately and Testable is an invaluable tool for writing a strong user story. The challenge is knowing how to practically apply all of the individual elements. This module breaks down each one so that the process is clear, increasing the chance that teams adopt the method, and write stories that meet all the criteria.

Module 6

  • Splitting Stories: This entire module is devoted to the most vexing and time-consuming issues surrounding splitting stories. One of the biggest problems is making sense of the myriad of advice on this subject. You don’t need 20 different ways to split a story, you need a focused, proven and practical method. The SPIDR approach looks at the most critical and valuable channels for splitting stories. This means you and your team can bring stories into an iteration that can be completed independently, and show meaningful progress to stakeholders.

Module 7

  • Overcoming Common Problems: This troubleshooting module covers the most common problems I’ve helped teams overcome. From spending too much time splitting stories, adding too much detail, to managing the need for a requirements document. This module helps you eliminate issues as they arise, making it easier to transition teams and make them more comfortable in adopting user stories. for adding details including knowing when to stop and how to handle a team that wants too much detail. You'll also be able to stop stories from turning into non-agile stage-gate placeholders.

Module 8

  • Things That Are Not User Stories: User stories seem simple. But because they are not lengthy documents with an endless checklist of requirements, teams run the risk of misinterpreting the rules. The result can be creating user stories that aren’t actually user stories. They may be feature lists, or job stories, bugs or non-functional requirements. These subjects are important to a project, but you need to handle them in the correct way to avoid problems further down the line.

Module 9

  • Wrap Up and Review: In this final module, we’ll review the course and look at how you can apply what you’ve learned going forward.


Upon completion of the course you get a certificate of completion and digital badge. 


"The ‘definitive authority’ is the phrase that comes to mind when I think about Mike Cohn and User Stories. As an agile trainer, I frequently refer my clients to Mike’s Better User Stories course as a cost-effective, high-value way to significantly improve their personnel’s user story writing skills. Take this course and learn from the best!" Ken Rubin

“Absolutely the best bang for buck I have ever spent in 'training', I think anyone on an agile team using User Stories would benefit from this class.” Doug Tooley

“By far the best course I have had since I started my agile journey back in 2008.” Anne Aaroe

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