I’ve made a minor update to my article about Agile Estimation with the Planning Game to include a downloadable pdf of the article for easy printing. The downloadable version also includes a tiny bit of commentary that comes from my upcoming Agile Advice book. There are also two links added at the end of the article. One is the the wikipedia article about Planning Poker (which describes the method slightly differently), and the other is to an article I wrote a long time ago about the wideband delphi estimation method.
The User Story is a tool developed with Extreme Programming that is almost universally accepted as part of Scrum. The User Story format is an effective way of communicating end user value to the Scrum Team. The first blank is a user (a person, not a system), the second blank is the action of the story (unique), and the third blank is the benefit (for any stakeholder, and outside the system). A User Story is made up of three “C’s”: Card, Conversation and Confirmation. The Card is the written version of the story (usually a physical card on the wall). It is considered to be an “invitation to a conversation”. The Conversation is where the real value resides and potentially involves all stakeholders. The Conversation can cause changes to the Card. Confirmation is the acceptance criteria that, when tested against, confirms the valuable result of the story. A User Story is an extremely effective way of creating light and conversational PBIs – this is why many Scrum teams use them. Another way to view User Stories is that it tells any reader the “who”, the “what”, and the “why” – who cares about this, what is the need/action, and why does the person want this. This is just enough information to make sure that an effective conversation occurs.