Episode 58 – Splitting, Slicing and Breaking Down Stories

Released Sunday, August 3, 2014

Hosts:  John Sextro


Why I missed the last show.

@neil_killick  Neil Killick

@aritanninen Ari Tanninen

Instead of planning poker, try a story slicing session

  • The importance of slicing stories
  • What’s the right size?

How to break down stories

  • Metaphors
    • Toaster vs Space shuttle
    • Building a road
      1. First build a dirt trail
      2. Then add on until you are satisified
    • The Spotify metaphor
      1. skateboard
      2. scooter
      3. bicycle
      4. motorcycle
      5. car
  • The wrong ways
    • view / controller / model or UI / controller / backend
    • across layers of the infrastructure
      1. client
      2. server
      3. database
      4. middleware
  • Example of the right way
    • Story
      1. As the buyer of the product, I want to register my purchase, so that I can receive updates to the product and information about new products similar to the one that I purchased.
      2. Additional requests from the product owner
        1. Don’t spam the user
        2. Guaranteed success of registration.  The buyer of the product won’t stand to go through this process more than once.
        3. Guaranteed delivery of email.  We can’t afford to miss the opportunity to make contact with the buyer.
    • Approach
      1. With your first story, establish a minimal beachhead or presences on each island of technology.
        1. This will help us a learn a lot about the “how” for implementing this story.
        2. For example, maybe you’ll discover that you need to go through a long approval process to request a database or provision an web application container.
        3. We accomplish this by constructing our first story so that we collect a name and email, persist the data and then send an email to acknowledge receipt of the registration.
      2. Layer in the rest of the functionality for the feature while collecting feedback along the way.
        1. Expand the data collected and persisted.
        2. Implement client and server side validations for data collection and persistence.
        3. Ensure guaranteed success of the registration.
        4. Ensure guaranteed delivery of an email.
        5. Implement a mechanism to send daily/weekly email digest to avoid spamming the user.


  1. This was a very beneficial podcast. It was found at the right time as I am trying to figure out ways to splice stories rather than the typical way.

    One great note about this podcast. Your delivery was perfect. It was slow, clear, and you were able to make your point in a way that I could follow without having to rewind.

    Thanks again.

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