User stories are missing the context the team needs to have a good discussion.
- The team is new to Agile methods
- The organisation is in the process of an Agile transformation.
- Team members are unsure how to reframe their requirements as User Stories
- There is pressure to succeed with the Agile transformation
- Lots of literature about user stories proposes a template that user stories should follow.
Proscribe a format that every User Story should conform to. Ensure that every User Story conforms to that format.
The team becomes overly focussed on ensuring the format is correctly filled in rather than ensuring that the User Story provides enough context for the team to be able to have a useful conversation about it.
“When you find a project team that is focused on producing a standard document rather than on considering the content of that document, then you are in the land of the template zombies…
In the land of the template zombies, form takes precedence. It is not necessary to think about the content of the document. It is not really necessary to think at all. The important thing is to have something—anything—under each of the prescribed headings. Not surprisingly, template zombies are adept in the art of cutting and pasting and ignoring anything that does not fit the dictates of the template.”
Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies: Understanding Patterns of Project Behavior; DeMarco et. al
The team dicsuss and agree what context is important to them so that they can capture User Stories to discuss later. They may create or use a template that helps them to remember what they have agreed, but do not require it to be used. They document the template and its purpose.