Create High-Quality User Stories with the INVEST Technique

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Agile software development is all about delivering value to the customer through continuous feedback and collaboration. One of the key tools for achieving this is the user story, a simple but powerful way of capturing customer needs and requirements.

Not all user stories are created equal. Most of them are are vague, poorly defined, or don’t provide real value to the customer. That’s where the INVEST technique comes in.

The INVEST technique is a mnemonic acronym used in Agile software development to help create high-quality user stories. It consists of six key principles that guide the creation of user stories that are clear, concise, and focused on delivering value to the customer.


User stories should be independent of each other, meaning that they can be developed and delivered in any order without impacting other stories. This allows the Agile team to prioritize and work on the most valuable user stories first, without being held back by dependencies or constraints.


User stories should be negotiable, meaning that they are open to discussion and can be modified or refined as needed. This ensures that the user story reflects the customer’s true needs and requirements, rather than being a rigid set of specifications that may not be relevant or useful.


User stories should be valuable to the customer, providing real value and solving a problem or need. This requires a deep understanding of the customer’s goals, challenges, and pain points, as well as the ability to prioritize features and functions based on their impact on the customer’s business.


User stories should be estimable, meaning that they can be accurately estimated in terms of time and resources required for development and delivery. This allows the Agile team to plan and allocate resources effectively, and to track progress and performance against milestones and objectives.


User stories should be small, meaning that they should be broken down into smaller, more manageable tasks that can be completed within a short timeframe. This helps to reduce complexity, increase productivity, and minimize the risk of delays or failures.


User stories should be testable, meaning that it should be possible to confirm that they have been successfully implemented through testing. This ensures that the user story meets the customer’s needs and requirements, and that it is free from defects or errors.


By using the INVEST technique, Agile teams can create user stories that are clear and focused on delivering value to the customer. This helps to improve customer satisfaction, reduce waste, and increase productivity.

The next time you’re creating a user story, remember to ask yourself: is it independent, negotiable, valuable, estimable, small, and testable? If the answer is yes, you’re on your way to creating a high-quality user story that will delight your customers and drive business success.