Sometimes you need several options.

Sometimes you need several options.

Smaller stories generally encourage throughput and are better for team productivity. Patterns provide help for teams as they groom and split stories.  There are numerous patterns that can be used. For example: elementary processes, data variations, business rules and workflow. All of these patterns are useful, BUT there is no single pattern that works all of the time. Using patterns in combination often provides better results.

For example in Splitting User Stories Based on Elementary Processes, one of the stories that we generated was:

As a time accounting user, I want to add my time to my timecard so I can account for the work I do.

Could we break this story down further?  Leveraging the workflow pattern we would find that there are two possible workflows 1) adding time to an existing card, and 2) adding time to a new card.  We described the workflow to establish a new time card in Splitting User Stories Using Workflows.  


Comparing the workflow immediately confirms that the two flows are different and could be split.  Adding a review of the workflow after splitting stories using the elementary process provides a team with options to split the larger user story about adding time to a timecard.  Whether the team splits the stories depends on the capability and productivity/velocity of the team.  

One pattern for splitting user stories is not necessarily better than another.  When left to my own devices I tend to favor workflow patterns (I draw lots of process maps).  Adding a second or third pattern provides teams with a chancing to identify nuances and to break stories down into more granular slices.  Recognize that as teams break stories down they are filling in holes in the requirements and their understanding of the product they will deliver.  Splitting stories increases the throughput of work, the productivity/velocity of the group and the completeness of the solution.