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From the Publisher

Core Concept Leading agile consultant and practitioner Mike Cohn presents detailed recommendations, powerful tips, and real-world case studies drawn from his unparalleled experience helping hundreds of software organizations make Scrum and agile work. Practical guide to estimating and planning agile projects. In this book, Agile Alliance cofounder Mike Cohn discusses the philosophy of agile estimating and planning and shows you exactly how to get the job done, with real-world examples and case studies. A best way to build software that meets users' needs is to begin with "user stories": simple, clear, brief descriptions of functionality that will be valuable to real users. Mike Cohn provides you with a front-to-back blueprint for writing these user stories and weaving them into your development lifecycle.
This book will help you Transition individuals to new roles; Structure teams; Scale up; Work with a distributed team; Implement effective metrics and continuous improvement. Answer the questions 'What should we build and by when?'; 'How big is this?'; 'When will this be done?'; and 'How much can I have by then?'. Save time and eliminate rework, make great user stories, and how to organize them, prioritize them, and use them for planning, management, and testing.
Endorsement “Mike Cohn is a great advisor for transforming your software organization. This book is a distillation of everything Mike has learned over the years working with companies that are trying to become more agile. If you are thinking of going agile, pick up this book.” —Christopher Fry, Ph.D., Vice President Development, Platform. "Students of Agile processes will recognize that this book is truly about agility, bridging many of the practices between Scrum and Extreme Programming." —Ken Schwaber. "Mike’s experience with user stories makes this a book full of practical advice for making user stories work for your development team." —Kent Beck.

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Product Description

Thoroughly reviewed and eagerly anticipated by the agile community, User Stories Applied offers a requirements process that saves time, eliminates rework, and leads directly to better software.

The best way to build software that meets users'' needs is to begin with "user stories": simple, clear, brief descriptions of functionality that will be valuable to real users. In User Stories Applied, Mike Cohn provides you with a front-to-back blueprint for writing these user stories and weaving them into your development lifecycle.

You''ll learn what makes a great user story, and what makes a bad one. You''ll discover practical ways to gather user stories, even when you can''t speak with your users. Then, once you''ve compiled your user stories, Cohn shows how to organize them, prioritize them, and use them for planning, management, and testing.

  • User role modeling: understanding what users have in common, and where they differ
  • Gathering stories: user interviewing, questionnaires, observation, and workshops
  • Working with managers, trainers, salespeople and other "proxies"
  • Writing user stories for acceptance testing
  • Using stories to prioritize, set schedules, and estimate release costs
  • Includes end-of-chapter practice questions and exercises

User Stories Applied will be invaluable to every software developer, tester, analyst, and manager working with any agile method: XP, Scrum... or even your own home-grown approach.

From the Back Cover

Agile requirements: discovering what your users really want. With this book, you will learn to:

  • Flexible, quick and practical requirements that work
  • Save time and develop better software that meets users'' needs
  • Gathering user stories -- even when you can''t talk to users
  • How user stories work, and how they differ from use cases, scenarios, and traditional requirements
  • Leveraging user stories as part of planning, scheduling, estimating, and testing
  • Ideal for Extreme Programming, Scrum, or any other agile methodology
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thoroughly reviewed and eagerly anticipated by the agile community, User Stories Applied offers a requirements process that saves time, eliminates rework, and leads directly to better software.

The best way to build software that meets users'' needs is to begin with "user stories": simple, clear, brief descriptions of functionality that will be valuable to real users. In User Stories Applied, Mike Cohn provides you with a front-to-back blueprint for writing these user stories and weaving them into your development lifecycle.

You''ll learn what makes a great user story, and what makes a bad one. You''ll discover practical ways to gather user stories, even when you can''t speak with your users. Then, once you''ve compiled your user stories, Cohn shows how to organize them, prioritize them, and use them for planning, management, and testing.

  • User role modeling: understanding what users have in common, and where they differ
  • Gathering stories: user interviewing, questionnaires, observation, and workshops
  • Working with managers, trainers, salespeople and other "proxies"
  • Writing user stories for acceptance testing
  • Using stories to prioritize, set schedules, and estimate release costs
  • Includes end-of-chapter practice questions and exercises

User Stories Applied will be invaluable to every software developer, tester, analyst, and manager working with any agile method: XP, Scrum... or even your own home-grown approach.

ADDISON-WESLEY PROFESSIONAL

Boston, MA 02116

www.awprofessional.com

ISBN: 0-321-20568-5

About the Author

Mike Cohn is the founder of Mountain Goat Software, a process and project management consultancy and training firm. With more than twenty years of experience, Mike has been a technology executive in companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 40s, and is a founding member of the Agile Alliance. He frequently contributes to industry-related magazines and presents regularly at conferences. He is the author of User Stories Applied (Addison-Wesley, 2004).

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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 54.5 out of 5
367 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

mouthymerc
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Lots of knowledge, but not always good explanations.
Reviewed in the United States on February 9, 2018
This book is pretty good overall, but has some very frustrating habits. One habit is of the author not defining new terms he uses. Take testing stories for example. The section starts off ok, because he mentions that some stories aren''t testable and gives examples.... See more
This book is pretty good overall, but has some very frustrating habits. One habit is of the author not defining new terms he uses. Take testing stories for example. The section starts off ok, because he mentions that some stories aren''t testable and gives examples. Fabulous. However, the very next sentence says that tests should be automated, with no explanation as to what that means. Automated how? Automation implies that a person won''t do it him/herself. How is that possible when testing stories of software? A person is always involved. His only explanation implies that a test isn''t automated because it would require the observation of a user. He never says with certainty though, so that''s my attempt to interpret. As a UX designer, it sounds weird that a test would take place without a real user, and that you should test things in some other way that equates with "automation." Maybe I don''t get it because I''m not a developer, but I think a new term like that should be explicitly defined. I have had several instances similar to this one, where a term is thrown into the mix and never fully explained. Otherwise the book is very informative.

**Update
I''m continuing with the book and have just now found the answer to what an automated test is in Chapter 6, and automated testing was first mentioned in Chapter 2.

I can''t speak for all readers obviously, but I find myself doing Google searches to fill in the blanks this book leaves. Unfortunately there aren''t a lot of books written on this subject (on Amazon anyways), so it can be difficult to supplement.
14 people found this helpful
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Daniel Heater
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Stories are promises to converse rather than detailed specifications
Reviewed in the United States on August 2, 2011
To quote from the book ".... stories are promises to converse rather than detailed specifications". I find this type of thinking to be a clear realization of the Agile manifesto ([...]/). Unfortunately for me I''m in a highly regulated, detailed specification domain... See more
To quote from the book ".... stories are promises to converse rather than detailed specifications". I find this type of thinking to be a clear realization of the Agile manifesto ([...]/). Unfortunately for me I''m in a highly regulated, detailed specification domain (aerospace), but I hope that gradually I can make the case that a detailed specification does not necessarily mean better software. I think you can achieve a better results by tilting the balance more toward productive conversations than contract negotiations.

I really like the concept of keeping requirements simple and putting details in the test case descriptions. I''ve created a custom field in my project tracking tool do just this. It''s a great help to have a definition of all the test cases with pass/fail criteria right there with the statement of what the customer wants. It makes it so easy to know when your done, or as a project lead, to check if a task is really complete (Are the test cases identified with the task written in our automated test suite and passing? If not, you''re not done!)

If you can''t tell yet, I love this book. I expect to reference it regularly. If you''re not satisfied with the way your organization does requirements (and I''ve yet to meet anyone who does!), READ THIS BOOK. Even if you don''t buy in completely to every suggestion, I am certain you will find ideas that you will embrace!
4 people found this helpful
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Bas Vodde
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The definitive reference on User Stories
Reviewed in the United States on December 10, 2006
User stories are a method of capturing requirements which was originally introduced in the extreme programming method. User stories are commonly described as "a promiss for a conversation" and are often recorded on index cards (at least, originally). Mike Cohn''s book takes... See more
User stories are a method of capturing requirements which was originally introduced in the extreme programming method. User stories are commonly described as "a promiss for a conversation" and are often recorded on index cards (at least, originally). Mike Cohn''s book takes the user story practice out of Extreme Programming and shows how it can be used in general in different methods.

The key-idea of user stories is that conversations and understanding via documentation is often wasteful and inefficient. User Stories describes a requirement in such a way that we can remember it in the future. At the time the requirement is ready to be implemented, we''ll discuss the requirement in more detail. That way we can delay some of the requirement analysis and move it closer to when we implement it. This reduces "requirement inventory" and can lead to less waste in the development process. Whether and how to use user stories in your project depends on many different variables and user stories explained will explain the details of user stories, the different types of user stories and give plenty of examples. All this is needed for a better understanding and for deciding how user stories can help you on your project.

The book is well written, though personally I found that it contained too much text. There was quite much repetition and that made the book slightly boring after a 100 pages. It could have been written with less text, in my opinion. Another drawback of the book was that the examples given didn''t feel real enough. It would have been nice to cover some larger projects and also discuss how user stories would work on these.

In conclusion, User Stories Applied is the definitive and only reference on user stories and when interested in user stories or when working with user stories, this is an absolute must!
6 people found this helpful
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Dimitris Tranoudis
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An excellent and complete book on Agile Requirements Management centered on the "User Stories" concept.
Reviewed in the United States on January 5, 2015
The book gives an excellent presentation of Agile Software Development from a perspective of one of the key components, that of the "User Story". The User Story is the structural element of Agile in Terms of Requirements Management and emanated as concept out of... See more
The book gives an excellent presentation of Agile Software Development from a perspective of one of the key components, that of the "User Story".

The User Story is the structural element of Agile in Terms of Requirements Management and emanated as concept out of Extreme Programming. The book introduces nicely and smoothly what are the "User Stories", the qualities of good "User Stories", the Roles and "Personas" owning the "User Stories", the process to Generate, Estimate, Plan and Test the User Stories.

At the end of each chapter there is a summary of the main ideas but also a series of questions to test understanding (with their answers provided at the end of the book).

The language is smooth and the read is very understandable even for the newcomers in the Agile World. The book offers also a valuable "hands on" feeling of the mechanisms built around user stories through a detailed description of the dialogues that would evolve among team members in a real life example (Part IV).

As a "Bonus", the book offers a short introduction to the Scrum Process (which a widely used process and is a kind of orchestration part for Agile) and to Extreme Programming.

The book can serve both as a textbook for teaching "User Stories" or as a book to comprehend a little deeper the requirements management processes of Agile once the process has been understood ("Essential Scrum" from the same author could be the one).
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Neena
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Use as reference; not recommended for end-to-end read
Reviewed in the United States on October 17, 2011
This book is a bit too detailed, getting rather repetitive at times. I suppose it is written such that you can flip to any chapter and have everything put in context for you. In that sense, it is more like a reference book. If you are buying this to read from end-to-end,... See more
This book is a bit too detailed, getting rather repetitive at times. I suppose it is written such that you can flip to any chapter and have everything put in context for you. In that sense, it is more like a reference book. If you are buying this to read from end-to-end, however, I wouldn''t recommend it. It''s hard to keep the chapters straight because so many of them are padded with the same information.

If you are trying to learn the ins and outs of Agile development, I would instead read a book like this one, Agile Excellence for Product Managers: A Guide to Creating Winning Products with Agile Development Teams , and then perhaps keep this book that is strictly about story writing on the shelf for reference when you run into snags (e.g., what do I do if my team isn''t motivated?)
10 people found this helpful
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Ugo Cei
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
For XP enthusiasts
Reviewed in the United States on November 4, 2005
Writing user stories is one of the twelve practices of the XP software development methodology. User stories summarily describe features of the software that must be developed, from the point of view of the user. This means that no implementation detail is present on... See more
Writing user stories is one of the twelve practices of the XP software development methodology. User stories summarily describe features of the software that must be developed, from the point of view of the user. This means that no implementation detail is present on stories.

As with all the XP practices, the emphasis is on traveling light, producing only those artifacts that are absolutely necessary. Thus, user stories contain a brief description of the feature as a reminder, to the developers and to the customer, that sometime in the future they will need to meet and flesh out the details. This is in contrast to techniques like use cases, which might seem similar but are much more formal and rich.

User stories also play a fundamental role in the planning game, one of the other XP practices. During the planning game, the development team and the customer together discuss the stories, the developers estimate the time necessary to implement each story, in terms of story points and the customer prioritizes them. During the next iteration, developers will implement those stories that the customer deemed more urgent, up to a number whose total sum of points does not exceed the estimated team velocity.

All of this is explained in a couple of the XP series books, namely Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change and Planning Extreme Programming You''d better have already read at least the former of those before picking up Mike Cohn''s book.

User Stories Applied does a good job explaining in detail what user stories are, what goes into them -and what doesn''t -, how they should be estimated and what to do with them after the stories have been implemented.

There''s a lot of good sense advice in this book, which might induce someone to think that user stories and all other XP practices are just a bunch of generic suggestions that you might apply or not, as you wish. That''s certainly not true, as XP is a methodology whose effectiveness lies in the combined action of all the practices when they are taken to the limit. This takes determination and discipline and, in my experience, it''s just too easy to fall into the habit of following only some of them, say when you''re not under deadline pressure, and still pretend that you''re an XP shop.

I would have liked more real-life stories in this book, in order to spice it up a little. As it is, everything that is there sounds highly reasonable (at least to me) but it wouldn''t convince anyone who is skeptic of XP''s supposed benefits. The example at the end of the book sounds contrived and hollow.

On the other hand, if you have been already convinced by Kent Beck''s white book and want to start adopting XP, I can heartily recommend Mike Cohn''s book.
13 people found this helpful
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JBooks
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Personal Favorite
Reviewed in the United States on April 13, 2014
Versatile, easy to understand language, strategic and tactical. It delivers a "how to" for beginners, vital information for journeyman story writers, and it is even a great refresher for those in the business that have grown a bit rusty as the years go... See more
Versatile, easy to understand language, strategic and tactical.

It delivers a "how to" for beginners, vital information for journeyman story writers, and it is even a great refresher for those in the business that have grown a bit rusty as the years go by.

All in all, Cohn delivers a user story writing guide that tops all the competition, and it seems to fit the bill for companies new to Agile or as a tactical reference for those that have been doing it for years.

Great book.

Enjoy!
2 people found this helpful
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P.K.Mardak
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The best agile oriented book I''ve read
Reviewed in the United States on July 27, 2011
I have been spending the last few months immersing myself in Agile and trying to learn as much as I can. I have so far read five different books on the subject including this one and I have one left. This is by far the most lucid, well-written, practical book on... See more
I have been spending the last few months immersing myself in Agile and trying to learn as much as I can. I have so far read five different books on the subject including this one and I have one left.

This is by far the most lucid, well-written, practical book on the subject. Agile books tend to sometimes get too anecdotal and speak in metaphors before they give you some useful practical steps. Not this one.

Mr. Cohn starts being useful right away and gives practical and useful advice. This book was worth every penny. In fact it made the other books I read clearer.

If you want a simple effective explanation of how to write user stories, look no further.
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Top reviews from other countries

SYED N AUSAF
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Pure Gold!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 21, 2016
Pure Gold! The first chapter will convince you why User stories are orders of magnitude better than the use cases you know and love. Each of the subsequent short chapters is tightly focused and covers a key aspect of user stories (e.g. writing good stories, user profile...See more
Pure Gold! The first chapter will convince you why User stories are orders of magnitude better than the use cases you know and love. Each of the subsequent short chapters is tightly focused and covers a key aspect of user stories (e.g. writing good stories, user profile mapping. using stories in planning and estimating etc.). As you go through the book, you can see how the different pieces of user stories fit together and how user stories themselves fit into a software development process. (The book itself leans heavily towards an agile process such as Scrum or XP although the exact process does not really matter) Despite its directness and succinctness, it is a very engaging and thought-provoking book. If you want to understand behaviour-driven development, specification-by-example or user story mapping (each of which is adequately in a book by a key populariser/practitioner of the respective technique) you should really read this book first. And even if you never practice any of those techniques, you should still read this book if you want to learn how to capture software requirements effectively in the modern, agile, test-driven world. It is one of that crop of brilliantly written, painstakingly edited software engineering books written by luminaries in their fields, that were published by Addison-Wesley in the 2000s: Refactoring by Fowler, Test-Driven Deveopment by Beck, this book, Pattern-oriented software architecture I and II, Patterns of Enterprise Software Integration (Fowler et. al.) and many others. They remain as relevant and thought-provoking today as when they were first written.
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Anastasiya
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Out dated
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 18, 2018
If you have completed at least 1 modern-world IT project, ideally an implementation project, and you are familiar with the process of writing Functional Requirements, translating to development requirements, then developing requirements etc, this book is utterly useless. It...See more
If you have completed at least 1 modern-world IT project, ideally an implementation project, and you are familiar with the process of writing Functional Requirements, translating to development requirements, then developing requirements etc, this book is utterly useless. It is an out-dated guide of someone who has not been up to date on the advances of technological tools used these days (or has not been close enough assuming everything is still the same as 10 years ago) I would have liked to see information which can be applied from small to multi-stream projects and how stories play a role. At least a requirements workflow from writing high level ''requirements''/placeholders, to writing out scenarios, then technical review, then PO/Business review and into development. There are no example of the modern world in this book of how each of these stages can be approached, documented and any common issues faced. This is the least I would expect from a book that is dedicated to ''user stories APPLIED''
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Anonymous
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent - Must have for everyone
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 20, 2016
Well worth the investment and study this book. One thing I find is that people continuously make the mistake that User stories have to go into so much detail. Ive worked with Devs who refuse to take a story into a sprint because it isn''t a black and white description of...See more
Well worth the investment and study this book. One thing I find is that people continuously make the mistake that User stories have to go into so much detail. Ive worked with Devs who refuse to take a story into a sprint because it isn''t a black and white description of what the end result should be. There are a lot of top down monitoring managers and PMs who push scrum teams to write all requirements down to this level. This is a good book for anyone to read who works in scrum or XP. Will help to set expectations of what a User story really is, and what a user story isn''t. Uses very good, sound examples.
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Michael May
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Always Worth a Close Look
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 23, 2018
Still a go-to for the Agile landscape, this book still covers a lot of useful material and is as relevant today as always in a way that tells you that Agile still has a way to go before we can consider ourselves to be doing it effectively.
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KromeInk
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great book for anyone wanting to become an expert.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 30, 2019
Excellent book for teaching you how to write user stories and set them out to an advanced level. I only had a basic idea on how to do these before reading this book and can now quite easily operate within an advanced environment.
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Core Concept Leading agile consultant and practitioner Mike Cohn presents detailed recommendations, powerful tips, and real-world case studies drawn from his unparalleled experience helping hundreds of software organizations make Scrum and agile work. Practical guide to estimating and planning agile projects. In this book, Agile Alliance cofounder Mike Cohn discusses the philosophy of agile estimating and planning and shows you exactly how to get the job done, with real-world examples and case studies. A best way to build software that meets users' needs is to begin with "user stories": simple, clear, brief descriptions of functionality that will be valuable to real users. Mike Cohn provides you with a front-to-back blueprint for writing these user stories and weaving them into your development lifecycle.
This book will help you Transition individuals to new roles; Structure teams; Scale up; Work with a distributed team; Implement effective metrics and continuous improvement. Answer the questions 'What should we build and by when?'; 'How big is this?'; 'When will this be done?'; and 'How much can I have by then?'. Save time and eliminate rework, make great user stories, and how to organize them, prioritize them, and use them for planning, management, and testing.
Endorsement “Mike Cohn is a great advisor for transforming your software organization. This book is a distillation of everything Mike has learned over the years working with companies that are trying to become more agile. If you are thinking of going agile, pick up this book.” —Christopher Fry, Ph.D., Vice President Development, Platform. "Students of Agile processes will recognize that this book is truly about agility, bridging many of the practices between Scrum and Extreme Programming." —Ken Schwaber. "Mike’s experience with user stories makes this a book full of practical advice for making user stories work for your development team." —Kent Beck.

Description

Product Description

Thoroughly reviewed and eagerly anticipated by the agile community, User Stories Applied offers a requirements process that saves time, eliminates rework, and leads directly to better software.

The best way to build software that meets users'' needs is to begin with "user stories": simple, clear, brief descriptions of functionality that will be valuable to real users. In User Stories Applied, Mike Cohn provides you with a front-to-back blueprint for writing these user stories and weaving them into your development lifecycle.

You''ll learn what makes a great user story, and what makes a bad one. You''ll discover practical ways to gather user stories, even when you can''t speak with your users. Then, once you''ve compiled your user stories, Cohn shows how to organize them, prioritize them, and use them for planning, management, and testing.

  • User role modeling: understanding what users have in common, and where they differ
  • Gathering stories: user interviewing, questionnaires, observation, and workshops
  • Working with managers, trainers, salespeople and other "proxies"
  • Writing user stories for acceptance testing
  • Using stories to prioritize, set schedules, and estimate release costs
  • Includes end-of-chapter practice questions and exercises

User Stories Applied will be invaluable to every software developer, tester, analyst, and manager working with any agile method: XP, Scrum... or even your own home-grown approach.

From the Back Cover

Agile requirements: discovering what your users really want. With this book, you will learn to:

  • Flexible, quick and practical requirements that work
  • Save time and develop better software that meets users'' needs
  • Gathering user stories -- even when you can''t talk to users
  • How user stories work, and how they differ from use cases, scenarios, and traditional requirements
  • Leveraging user stories as part of planning, scheduling, estimating, and testing
  • Ideal for Extreme Programming, Scrum, or any other agile methodology
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thoroughly reviewed and eagerly anticipated by the agile community, User Stories Applied offers a requirements process that saves time, eliminates rework, and leads directly to better software.

The best way to build software that meets users'' needs is to begin with "user stories": simple, clear, brief descriptions of functionality that will be valuable to real users. In User Stories Applied, Mike Cohn provides you with a front-to-back blueprint for writing these user stories and weaving them into your development lifecycle.

You''ll learn what makes a great user story, and what makes a bad one. You''ll discover practical ways to gather user stories, even when you can''t speak with your users. Then, once you''ve compiled your user stories, Cohn shows how to organize them, prioritize them, and use them for planning, management, and testing.

  • User role modeling: understanding what users have in common, and where they differ
  • Gathering stories: user interviewing, questionnaires, observation, and workshops
  • Working with managers, trainers, salespeople and other "proxies"
  • Writing user stories for acceptance testing
  • Using stories to prioritize, set schedules, and estimate release costs
  • Includes end-of-chapter practice questions and exercises

User Stories Applied will be invaluable to every software developer, tester, analyst, and manager working with any agile method: XP, Scrum... or even your own home-grown approach.

ADDISON-WESLEY PROFESSIONAL

Boston, MA 02116

www.awprofessional.com

ISBN: 0-321-20568-5

About the Author

Mike Cohn is the founder of Mountain Goat Software, a process and project management consultancy and training firm. With more than twenty years of experience, Mike has been a technology executive in companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 40s, and is a founding member of the Agile Alliance. He frequently contributes to industry-related magazines and presents regularly at conferences. He is the author of User Stories Applied (Addison-Wesley, 2004).

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