Visual Aid.

When I am writing User Stories and Acceptance Criteria, sometimes I really do wonder how my poor developer teammate is supposed to understand the garbled descriptions and instructions I put together. Sure, sometimes it so obvious, there is no danger of mis-communication, but more often than not, my stories are complex and complicated and convoluted.

Personally, I am a big fan of visual representation of what I would like to achieve. Actually, truth be told, I almost always draw a plan or flowchart of whatever it is I need to then put in writing. Not sure why, but when I can follow the flow of an arrow, I’m much more likely to find gaps in my thoughts, than trying to read through a script. Likewise, when trying to imagine changes in our UI, I prefer to create a few mockups instead of writing descriptions.

The downside for me is, that it usually takes longer to create a mockup or flowchart. Simply writing down what I want is absolutely quicker, but then again, more often than not, writing doesn’t accurately convey what I was trying to explain, so I end up having to go back and forth to explain anyway. After all, there must be a reason people say a “picture is worth a thousand words”.

Naturally, it usually pays to not rely only on my drawings or scribbles and I pretty much always write up everything, but I absolutely think that nothing beats a good visual aid.


The post Visual Aid first appeared on Agile, Now What?


Bad Handwriting.

I was doing some research for the blog and found this article by Mike Cohn and I honestly almost laughed out loud!

Hard to Read Handwriting Is Best for User Stories

It basically states that research has proven that people have a harder time remembering information that they read in an easy to read font, such as Arial, as opposed to trying to decipher someone’s crappy handwriting. So, for any information that you really want people to take in and remember, make sure you write it by hand and don’t even try to make it pretty!

For somebody who often struggles with handwriting, particularly on publicly displayed items, such as flip charts and whiteboards – I tend to write relatively legibly, but typically “horizontal” is a very inaccurate description of my writing direction – this is a very welcome revelation! I now not only have an excuse, but rather a reason to continue to write in this less than perfect manner. Not only that, I will also have this fun fact to throw at any smarty-pants colleague who decides to make jokes about my less than ideal scrawl…

Mike & the scientists – you made my day! 🙂