User story Planning

Let’s all slow down

Melissa Fisher
2 min readMar 16, 2022


Too much going on

Lately I have felt that there has been too much going on , such as emails, meetings and app notifications. Today I decided to take back control and do several things, such as removing instant messaging apps from my phone, unsubscribing from emails, prioritising, muting notifications on places like LinkedIn and adding focus time into my calendar. Already my mood is improving without the constant distraction and context switching. It has made me realise how much is in my control.

I can take action and improve my mood.

User Story Planning — Acceptance criteria

This leads onto my main topic of user story planning. In the past I have noticed a few things. One of them is that in refinement or planning meetings a user story is thrown into the team’s view and they are expected to create acceptance criteria. If you have not heard of acceptance criteria, then these are basically requirements. The things you need to meet before you can say the piece of work is done.

Experiment — pre-planning preparation

In a previous role, we were given a user story and a team member’s response was “I need time to think about it”. It was this response that made us reflect and start an experiment where we had an opportunity to review user stories and prepare our thoughts before coming together to create the acceptance criteria. What the product owner started to do was to let us know prior to the session what user stories we would be looking at.

It was successful. We all felt better that we were doing our best work.

What else do we need to consider?

At the end of the day engineering teams are there to deliver. There is that underlying pressure that we need to get things out the door. I have observed that the pressure can cause us to skip corners and rush. Perhaps we start work on an item before adding the acceptance criteria or we rush through the conversations in refinement or planning. There was an instance where it felt like we were coming to the end of refining a ticket. Then I asked “What else do we need to consider”? This is a good question to make everyone pause and reflect on the conversations so far. Giving an opportunity for anyone to raise anything else.

I’d be interested to hear from you if you have any other questions or ideas to get people to slow down and think.


Let’s all slow down. Think more and react less.



Melissa Fisher

Thinking outside the box and disrupting people's thinking.