Publication Details

Clarke, R. J. & Kautz, K. (2014). What's in a user story: IS development methods as communication. Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Information Systems Development (pp. 356-364). Croatia: University of Zagreb.


This paper challenges claims made by Scrum proponents when characterising the communicative nature of user stories: including being more 'authentic' because they comprise spoken language and that they are stories. We argue and decisively demonstrate that neither can be upheld. By incorrectly characterising user stories, we miss opportunities to understand what they are and how they work during development. User stories are better understood by applying a functional theory of communication that emphasises how language is used. By selecting systemic functional linguistics, we can analyse user stories, and have developed a method for factoring unwanted epics into usable user stories.

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