1 min read

Stop using "Technical User Stories"

Imagine you've got a friend who's birthday is coming up. They love chocolate cake and told you that all they want is a delicious chocolate cake for their birthday.

Now imagine your friend's disappointment when you show up to the party with the ingredients, but no cake.

That's how your product owner feels when you deliver "technical" or "dev" user stories but no actual value.

You're slicing it wrong

Have you ever seen someone horizontally slice a birthday cake? Me either. But when we decompose our work so that we get "technical" user stories, it's like slicing a cake the wrong way.

Serial killer vibes.

Instead we need to reframe how we approach decomposing big pieces of work. We need to find a slice that cuts vertically across all layers. Technical, front-end, UX, testing etc.

But we're special because...

I've heard more excuses for this topic than almost any other:

  • "Tech stack is too complicated..."
  • "Deployment takes too long..."
  • "We don't have the final designs..."

"... and that's why we need a technical story."

Writing and delivering on technical user stories (it even sounds contradictory) is at best a stop gap while you find the real underlying problem and work to fix it.

To get started, ask yourself why you need technical user stories. Then keep asking "why" until you get to the bottom of it.