User Stories? I Have No Users!

Innovation teams are often small, multifunctional crews tasked with constant prototyping.  Being open, communicative types, they find Agile useful for most projects.  Those teams often encounter a common prototyping pain point: Who writes user stories when we don’t have any users?  Agile hangs its hat on its ability to respond quickly to user feedback, to create user stories from that feedback, and to release features and content that address what users are demanding at that time.  When you are prototyping, however, you don’t usually have users and the traditional user story:

As a (user type/persona), I want to (insert desired action) so I can (insert revolutionary motivation here).

Without users to provide feedback, and without a product for anyone to provide feedback on, how do you address the issue of User Stories? Continue reading


Huboard: A Kanban Board For GitHub

Agile development teams using GitHub repositories usually have work in two places, as issues or defects in their github repositories and as user stories and epics in their agile work management tool. Often a plugin or bridge is used to make the work flow from the business view to the Github repository. Although this satisfies most compliance requirements and allows the development team to work where they are comfortable, it doesn’t provide the UNIFIED information radiator that promotes a common conversation among all members of the team, including the stakeholders. If you are using a physical Kanban board and other physical radiators you may not encounter this problem. For distributed agile teams, however, I’ve found it to be a common one.


I recently explored an application that displays GitHub issues and defects, as well as pull requests, from your repositories in Kanban work board format. In this post we will refer to aKanban Board, NOT the Kanban methodology. A Kanban Board is just an information radiator that shows where the work is in the development cycle. The Heroku application,Huboard,  has pros and cons for an agile project team, but overall can provide a lightweight, easily adopted solution to managing a sprint backlog for a distributed team.

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