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Adam Piechocki-Brown
Adam Piechocki-Brown

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User stories in a mixed software/hardware environment

I'm a team lead for a small team of devs. We've been Agile-ish for a few years but there are a few areas causing problems. The main one is getting good user stories for things that users don't care/know about.

We deliver embedded solutions that are a mixture of hardware and software. There's a lot that has to happen that doesn't relate easily to the user requirements.

For instance, they might want a system to check the distribution of pepperoni on a pizza (yes, really). We'd probably treat that high level requirement as a epic and break it down it down into things like:

As a Production Engineer I want to make sure there is no more than 10 grams of pepperoni on the pizza so that I can meet my efficiency target

As a QA manager I want to ensure the pepperoni is evenly distributed across the pizza so we don't get complaints from the supermarkets.

But I feel there's potential for things to get missed. We might need to spend 20 days designing a pepperoni detection algorithm or we might have to spend 10 days designing and building an electrical cabinet.

I don't want to leave them 'hidden' within larger stories. I'd like those tasks to emerge as part of the story process. But it feels a bit forced. Who would be the user for a story about an electrical cabinet?

Any suggestions appreciated!

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