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The Value of a Good Job Story

As I work increasingly in an Agile environment, using the Scrum methodology to deliver working software, I realize how important the role of a Product Owner is. A dedicated product owner. I recently took the Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) class. Between you, me, and my worldwide blog followers, I have no desire to become a Product Owner. Aside from the education credits, my motivation behind taking the certification was that I thought it would help me evolve my Scrum Master skills. One concept related to product backlog structure, particularly story types, stood out from my CSPO class. 

Until my CSPO class, I was only sure of ‘user stories.’ defines a user story as “an informal, general explanation of a software feature written from the end user’s perspective. Its purpose is to articulate how a software feature provides value to the customer”. In my own experience, writing user stories is difficult at first. However, it is a skill that can be refined with practice. My class introduced a concept that I was unfamiliar with, or perhaps I forgot about somewhere along the way, “job stories.”

Just as it sounds, a job story takes the focus off a user; it then places it on the situation for execution. No surprise, job stories seemed to have evolved because user stories weren’t sufficient in identifying motivations and outcomes. Job stories focus on motivation, a goal, and an outcome. They are written in this format: When (situation occurs), I want to (goal), so I can (outcome).  Job stories can be superior because they provide context about what is happening. 

Both user stories and job stories have advantages. User stories are more valuable when a product has one user with multiple needs for a product or software. A job story could be more useful when the conditions are the same. I am currently working on a project; we are building custom Fiori applications for a client. Per the client’s request during our Design Thinking Engagement, they want us to design the application with all “like” job positions. That is, to function the same no matter where that position is around the globe. Using job stories, in this case, could be very beneficial for our backlog. 

Use them if it makes sense for your Scrum team to use both story formats. Use what works for your team to deliver a quality result!

{1} Rehkopf, Max. “User Stories | Examples and Template.” Atlassian, Accessed 28 August 2022.


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Kelly Byrd is a Senior Project Manager at Mindset. She is a believer that quality is free and understands that the customer is the driving force behind change and innovation. One of her key focuses is ensuring that our customers are receiving a remarkable experience.

Kelly lives in Florida, and when she’s not boating, at the beach or soaking in the saltwater, she’s enjoying time with friends and family, watching Florida State University (FSU) football, cooking and traveling.

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