Checklists and user stories and wireframes, oh my!

Checklists and user stories and wireframes, oh my!

21 Mar

Author : Annie Curran, Categories : Web Site Development

Checklists and user stories and wireframes, oh my!

Many people don’t think of using checklists because they think that they’ll remember everything.  While that may work well for some, it’s not a fool proof method, and leaves much room for error.  Checklists can be useful in many aspects of life, whether it be your professional life or for the daily grind.  How many times have you gone to the grocery store to pick up a few things, without writing them down because you think you have your mental list, and then got back home only to realise that you forgot at least one thing from that infamous list in your head?  Had you made a checklist of things to get, you would have saved yourself some precious time.
What if Santa didn’t make a list and check it twice, or if a carpenter didn’t measure twice and only cut once, where would we be then?  We’d have gifts we don’t want and crooked houses to live in, that’s where.

The story behind the user story 

Here at Symetris we’ve started using a checklist document called a User Story for quality assurance purposes.  This document was created not only for our benefit but for the client as well.  This tool is fast becoming indispensable as it clarifies all the steps that need to be done and verified for each phase of the project and helps eliminate any ambiguities, thus improving our productivity and in turn saving us and the client time by reducing the back and forth questioning.
Symetris User Story
The user story is meant to list out the functionalities required for each feature of your website, or to put it simply to clearly define what your website should do.  The 3 principles are simple:
  • Roles
  • Goals
  • Actions
For example:
As a site Editor (Role) I want to Create, view, update slides in my slide show (Action) in order to advertise a promotion (Goal) I have at the moment.
This methodology can be used as much for project management as for software development as Mike Cohn of Mountain Goat Software explains.  

User Stories vs. Wireframes

What’s the difference between a user story and a wireframe?  A wireframe and a user story are essential communication tools to properly define all the elements your website will have and ensure that the client and everyone else involved in the process are on the same page as far as vision and expectations.  To put it simply a wireframe defines the overall look and feel of your website whereas the User Story is meant to define what your website is going to do once all the pretty stuff has been integrated.
Basic Wirefram
A wireframe is generally created once your project estimate has been finalized to put into visual perspective how your website will be laid out.  Once the wireframes have been defined and you’ve met with the client to define all their needs, this is when the user story comes in.  Once the user story has been finalized and implemented, there are three validations done before going live.  The developer goes through it, then the project manager goes through all the steps and makes sure that everything is in accordance with what was estimated as well as the functionality of it all and finally the client gets the document, and is able to perform their own QA and make sure that this is what they had in mind and note anything that doesn’t coincide.

Tags : checklists

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