Developing Great Products with StarCIO Agile Planning

Writing user stories was once a relatively straightforward exercise. Product owners wrote stories in customer-centric language defining why, what, and for whom the story was being implemented. The goal was, and still is, to establish a shared understanding of the requirements with the agile development team without overly specifying how the story should be implemented.

More mature agile teams develop standards and constrain how a story should be implemented with pass-fail acceptance criteria. Criteria bind the implementation around architecture, data, security, devops, performance, scalability, user experience, and other compliance factors.

Mature agile teams grow beyond just in time user story writing

I still here some teams that attempt writing all their stories for an upcoming sprint in the current sprint. Their chief argument is that it gives them the most flexibility to prioritize new stories based on the latest customer feedback and team progress.

That flexibility comes at a high cost.

It implies that a product owner can sufficiently document the user story, explain its rationale, and adjust requirements based on the team's feedback - all within a sprint.

It means that teams have to understand the story, size them in story points, and draft all the acceptance criteria to align the implementation to standards.

And if the team faces a disruption or team members have unplanned absences, then the backlog's depth and quality may be compromised.

The need for continuous agile planning

At StarCIO, we educate agile organizations on continuous agile planning. Some aspects of this approach have been documented here on Social, Agile, and Transformation, while additional details are in Chapter 2-3 of my book, Driving Digital. Aspects of StarCIO's Agile Planning include

Over the next few months, I'll be sharing a lot more details on StarCIO's Agile Planning programs including workshops, training, and how to become certified. 

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About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld,, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.