There are no tasks, there are only stories.
This concept is directly from Jeff Sutherland, one of the creators of Scrum (Agile).
Here’s the idea: a “user story” is a way to describe the problem a user (or customer) faces.
It’s formatted like this:
As a < type of user >, I want < some goal > so that < some reason >.
This helps keep the task “user-focused” and pointed directly at the true need of the customer.
For a story to be “ready” for work. It must meet the INVEST Criteria:
- Independent – actionable and completable on its own. No dependencies.
- Negotiable – Until it’s being done, it needs to be able to be re-written. Allowance for change is built in.
- Valuable – It actually delivers value to a customer, or user, or stakeholder.
- Estimable – We have to be able to size it.
- Small – The story must be small enough to be able to estimate and plan for it easily. If it’s too big, rewrite it or break it into smaller stories.
- Testable – A story must have a test that it must pass for it to be “complete.” Write the test, before you do the story.
For a story to be “done,” it must meet any conditions or tests defined by “Testable.”
Testable just means “pass/fail.”
If stories are really ready, teams can double output. If stories are really done, they can double output, again.
This takes discipline and it takes clarity.
2 Minute Action
Convert your to-do list from tasks into stories.
Does that mean you don’t do it at all?
You know better.
Make it smaller and just convert your first task.
Do it again and again. You’ll get the hang of it.