Product Management Night #3 Recap: What’s in a Great User Story? (and more)

Written by Published in Product Management, Product Management Night

Sven Wenger welcome speech

On 30 May, we held our fourth Product Management Night (PM Night) at UBS’ offices in Zurich. Our host, Sven Wenger – Executive Director at UBS, provided introductory comments and some advice:

Work with the best people! And work with people who are passionate and skillful. And as a product manager, you have to be a leader. Take care of your team, and you will succeed.

Iulia Porneala from PMF reviewed some of the results from PMF’s most recent Trends and Benchmark study. With 400+ responses, we were able to learn a lot from, and could share a lot to, the product management community. Iulia shared information such as gender representation, years of experience, titles, and salaries by geography. We will be conducting another survey this year. Let us know at [email protected]agementfestival.com if you have topics you’d like to see surveyed in our study!

The keynote speaker was Stefano Ortelli, Product Owner at Swissphone, who delivered an entertaining presentation on “Great User Stories.” He cautioned against writing the “shining” user story (inspired by the movie of the same name where “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is typed repeatedly). Sometimes we fall into the habit of writing stories that always start with, “As the user…” He reminded us to use personas in writing user stories since there are typically several types of users who interact with our products. His second tip was to avoid the “Granny’s Refrigerator” user story (inspired by the grocery list stuck to the fridge that Granny uses to keep track of what needs to be restocked…). The takeaway: the user story should be bite-sized and not have a long list of features in it; keep it to no more than 1 feature each.

Stefano also advised letting developers know what you want achieved, but you don’t need to tell them how to do it. Give the engineers the freedom to figure that out. And the final tip was to be sure to include in the user story the reason, the “why” the feature is needed. It’s important to know what is the value of it to the user.

We wrapped up the evening with a lively Q&A and apero. Many thanks to Sven and UBS for hosting us! PM Nights are to provide opportunities for the local product management community to meet each other and exchange ideas and experiences. If you would like to host a PM Night at your company, or speak at one of our upcoming events, write us at [email protected]. If you want to be kept up to date with our Product Management Nights:

Check out Zurich Meetup Group
Check out Romandie Meetup Group


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