What is the Role-Feature-Reason Template?

There are opinions on the definition of a user story and how to best go about creating one. Various templates, techniques, and acronyms are used to help product owners write user stories. The most common technique is the role-feature-reason template for teams and product owners starting to write user stories structured into three parts: (1) As a (Role); (2) I want (Feature); So that (Reason).

User story role feature template
User story role feature template

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This template serves as “training wheels”, reminding people in conversation about user stories to pay attention not just to “what” the desired software product is to do, but also “for whom (who)” it does it and in pursuit of “what objectives (why)“. Here is the purpose for using the template when creating user stories:

  • Keep it simple and brief;
  • Write from the perspective of the user (Who / Role);
  • Describe one piece of functionality (What / Feature);
  • Make the value/benefit of the story clear (Why /Reason).
User story - who, what, why template
User story – who, what, why template

Examples Using Role-Feature-Reason Template

This three parts template keeps the focus on who (the role), what (the feature), and why (the reason). This prevents the product owner from giving the development team too much information about how they should implement a solution. By focusing on three parts, the development team is empowered to find the best technical solution and to avoid the story to be overly specified prior to the sprint planning.

User stories template
User stories template
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