Inception activity for discovering User Stories

1 May 2012 | Lean Inception

On this blog post I share an activity I used on my last Inception.  I found this activity very useful to kick start the User Stories creation.


What are the goals of this project?
This question  triggered the conversation about the business goals for the project. 
Who will use this system? What are their roles?
These questions disclosed the personas (with their roles) for the project. Goals and personas were written on post-its. Large pink post-it was used for goals, and small colorful post-its were used for personas. This is shown on the photo below.
After having written a few goals and personas, the team started brainstorming for creating User Stories.
As a X, I want Y so that Z.
Note that X and Z were already known variables (personas and goals). We were now looking for the Ys.
So, what does X want from the system in order to achieve Z?
For example: What does an OPS dude want from the system in order to monitor the browser against system overflow?
User stories were being written…
Soon these stories were combined into features (blue post it). Usually a feature would have from two to eight stories.
This whole process was not linear and definitive. Index cards (for stories) and colorful post-it (goals, personas and features) were written and re-written a few times. Below are a few photos showing index cards and post-its.

Paulo Caroli

Paulo Caroli is the author of the best-selling book “Lean Inception: How to Align People and Build the Right Product” (the first on a series of books about Lean Strategy and Delivery). He's also the creator of , a site and book about retrospectives, futurospectives and team building activities. Caroli writes on this blog frequently. Receive the next post in your email. Sign up here .
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