Identifying the Challenges of Applying “User Stories” in Practice and Exploring Possible Remedies: a Case Study
Vries, Anne-Claire de
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Agile Software Development (ASD) has become an increasingly popular methodology used in the software development industry. Within ASD, User Stories (USs) are by far the most widely used notation for expressing requirements. Despite this, very few studies have investigated the application of USs in practice, with most existing research being focused on developing solutions for US problems situated in narrowly defined agile RE contexts. In this thesis, we addressed this research gap by investigating the application of USs in a real-life ASD project, identifying problem areas and testing a possible remedy. The US issues we observed in our case study included: (1) inconsistent use of the US format and (2) issue types, (3) limited use of hierarchical relations and (4) difficulty deciding what to include in different backlog items. To help remedy these issues, we designed, implemented and evaluated the Backlog Item Categorization Model (BICM), a methodological framework consisting of a decision tree and accompanying information sheet to help inform the process of creating and/or modifying product backlog items. Our evaluation of the BICM showed that it was successful in achieving its objectives, with no observed inconsistencies regarding use of the US format and issue types and an increase in the use of hierarchical levels in the team’s product backlog after a three week intervention period. As such, this thesis offer novel insights into US challenges and paves the way for future research to increase the practical relevance of US research and solutions.