How INVEST helps team write effective user stories…

Brian the BA in danger?
Image from Google


The classic example of a dependent story:

Identify the dependence within the story by drawing out the natural order of the feature:

Upset the natural order of a feature to identify independence:

Identify business and technical dependency:

An Independent Story:

Image from Google


How much detail?

  1. A short description of a feature with enough details to have a conversation.
  2. Given there is important information at that point in time, It should be written as annotations.
Image from Google


Image from Google


  1. He is unable to understand the domain.
  2. He lacks the technical knowledge to implement a story.
  3. The story is too big or too small to estimate.

Unable to understand the business domain:

Lacks technical knowledge:

The story is too big or too small:

Image from Google


Types of Epics:

1. Compound Story:

Splitting Compound User Story:

2. Complex Story:

Splitting a Complex User Story:

  1. An investigation story called spike.
  2. A subsequent story for developing a feature.
  1. Make this activity time bound. It is possible that the spike story itself can’t be estimated but the rough idea about the time to spend on the investigation should be given by the developer.
  2. Add the developing of a feature story in subsequent iterations so that it will not increase the level of uncertainty in that sprint.

Combining User Stories:

Image from Google


Putting it all together


  1. There is this series of articles ‘Why it pays to INVEST in User Stories’ by Dean Peter in which he explains each criterion in detail. Give it a read!
  2. Mike Cohn book ‘User Stories Applied’.
  3. Mike Cohn ‘s blogs:



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