These are my confessions…of the backlog. What dirty little secrets is your team’s backlog keeping? Is it abusing or not using spikes appropriately, retroactively updating story point estimates, rolling over stories from sprint to sprint or even writing user stories where systems are the users?

In this talk, we’ll first give a quick overview of common backlog confessions then we will focus on the technical user story confession. In agile, we want all of our requirements to be about the user (As a [some type of user], I want [some functionality], so that I can [achieve some benefit].) as they should be because it forces the teams to think about the use and value of every single thing they are building. But what happens if your product doesn’t have direct users, like an API or middleware layer? How does the team and the PO stay true to agile principles in the backlog (and it’s not by making our systems sentient!)?

During this interactive session, we will discuss what a technical user story is, how it differs from the generic user story and when it should be used. Then we’ll have a few hands-on exercises using a simulated technical project and visual models to identify when the technical user story format is preferable and how to write one.

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