Product Management 101: How to Write a User Story

A user story describes a product’s functionality from a user’s point of view in a simple and concise way. It describes what a user needs and the value they will get from a product. For a startup, users stories can help you define your product more clearly.

Five Standing People Holding Message Clouds

User stories are extremely useful for product discussions between technical and non-technical team members. These stories are a foundation for collaboration and communications across a team. A user story is focused on what matters most to the user.

User stories are commonly used in agile engineering. They help with product scope discussions and can be a starting point into a deeper technical discussion.

You will be able to better articulate the functionality of your product if you develop a set of well-written user stories with no technical jargon. Your focus should be on providing clarity about product features.  It’s the “what” – not the “how.”

The following are two possible formats that you could use for your user stories:

As a ___(role or person)___, I can  _____(goal / need)________ , so that ______(why)_____.

OR

As a ____(particular class of user)____, I want to be able to ___(be able to perform / do something)___, so that _____(I get some form of value or benefit)_______.

User stories are affirmed by acceptance criteria, which ensure that user stories are completed with the full range of functionalities that a product owner has specified for the user (see module on “Acceptance Criteria”). As a next step, take some time to write your user story (or stories!) in order to better define you product features and gain a clear understanding of who your users truly are and why they use the product you offer.