User Role Template: build comprehensive user stories

Apr 26
User stories are created from the viewpoint of the (yes, you guessed it) users. This is something completely different compared to a system-centered view of the features. But what does this really mean?
Most of the time, an application is used by different users or user roles, each with their own characteristics. So, when we start writing stories, we must identify these user roles appropriately.

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User Role Template: build comprehensive user stories

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This identification process is not rocket science, but we often see teams that underestimate the importance of user role identification. It is often overlooked, causing problems later on. This identification process is called user role modeling.

The idea is simple:
  1. Write down every user you can think of.
  2. Sort the user roles and group similar ones together.
  3. Remove duplicates, synonyms and finalize the list of identified user roles.
  4. When an agreement is reached it’s time to document them.

Each of the roles interact in a different way with the application. Some roles will have features that are solely built for them, other roles will share features. This can be shown in a user role hierarchy that clarifies the hierarchical relationships between users, starting with a very generic user at the top, diving deeper in details at the lower levels. This is an important diagram, because it forces you to think about who you’re implementing features for. Our course The Ultimate Guide To User Stories contains a detailed example if you want to find more about this.

Another part of documenting these user roles is building a comprehensive but basic profile of each of the user roles. Doing this will make everybody understand how the user will interact with the platform and why.

When writing down these user role profiles, we have tried searching for a good and comprehensive template, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to find something that fully suited our needs.

That’s why we created a basic template that can be used to describe the user role.

That’s our newest download!

Because it has been created based on years of practical experiences and problems we frequently encountered ourselves, we feel confident sharing this cherished piece of knowledge with you and hope this will become one of your treasured tools.

How does this template work? Quite simple. You fill in each section with the required information and revisit it when writing new user stories, to make sure they fit the user role.

What information do you fill in? First of all, a name, so we can refer to this user with the correct name, as well as an estimation of the total amount of users in that role. Next, we look at the user role’s context with the product: how will he interact with the product? Thirdly we describe a few characteristics of this user: does he understand the domain and how are his digital skills? 

Lastly there are a few sections that deal with contextual information about the user role, mainly looking at when, where and how they interact with the product.

We use this user role profile a lot – it pushes the team to a mutual understanding of who we are building the product for. We hope this template does the same for you and that by using this template you are one step closer to writing good user stories.

User Role Template: build comprehensive user stories

* Create an account to see the download button *