It Starts With A Story: Using Story Structure to Create Compelling User Stories

Once upon a time, there was a product owner who just knew their product was exactly what their customer wanted, but they couldn't get anyone to buy in. Their friend the business analyst had all the best research...but nobody cared. It's a common story with a tragic ending when product owners and analysts cast themselves as the main characters in the product's story instead of their customers. In this session Ali Oliver-Krueger, director of InterAct Story Theatre, will lead you down a different path: borrowing story structure elements and theatre-making strategies to craft compelling user stories that connect with customers and communicate value.


Outline/Structure of the Workshop

  • Introduction: Theatrical storytelling, and why businesses need it to communicate and connect with customers.
  • Elements of Story Structure:
    • What makes a compelling WOW narrative? (Want, Obstacle, Win)
    • Basic Elements of Story Structure
    • How Elements of Story Structure connect with Elements of a Solid User Story
  • Exercise: Let's Make A Three-Minute Play
  • Connections: Why did we do this? What does this have to do with Agile and my product?
  • Applications and Adaptations: Opportunity for discussions, questions, and brainstorming

Learning Outcome

Participants will:

  • Discover the rationale for adapting theatrical story structures to solve business problems and communicate value.
  • Learn basic elements of story structure in storytelling/theatrical devising/playbuilding and how they correlate to elements of a solid user story.
  • Participate in a Three-Minute Play process that can help loosen up our thinking, spark brainstorming and idea generation, and get out of our heads so we can get our heads back in the game.
  • Discuss applications and adaptations that can help participants visualize their products from the customer's point of view and design features/narratives/products that customers can connect with.

Target Audience

Product owners and business analysts

Prerequisites for Attendees

A playful spirit, and a willingness to try something new (and a little nerdy). Basic familiarity with or experience in writing user stories is helpful, but not required.

schedule Submitted 3 years ago