#32 – Splitting User Stories

Authors comment:

The reason we want small user stories that take a maximum of a couple of days to finish is to create flow and get feedback faster. As soon as user stories are finished, the team can get feedback from the PO, customers or end-users without having to wait for the Sprint Review.’

Richard Lawrence’s excellent guide, “How to split a user story”, provides nine ways to try to split a user story (workflow steps, business rule variations, simple/complex, defer performance, major effort, interface variations, operations, variations in data and break out a spike), and at least one of them will definitely be applicable for any story. No matter which splitting approach you take, it is important to properly prepare the story beforehand (e.g., ensuring that it lives up to INVEST) and to evaluate the split afterwards (e.g., ensuring that the resulting stories are of similar size and live up to INVEST).

Also, if you are creating epics/features, Ivar Jacobson International have similarly made a very useful guide, “How to slice a feature”, with 10 approaches to splitting these larger chunks of work before decomposing them into stories.