Story Identification for Newbies

Event Modeling is Easy Story Identification Technique

For those new to Scrum, Story identification can seem intimidating. Even if you follow our guidelines in Chapter 3 – GSD Gold Approach to Story Writing, you may still have writer’s block. Event modeling is one of my favorite go to methods that get my Story writing juices flowing.

Every Story has a beginning, middle and ending. The Event kicks off the beginning of the process we want implemented, the Story Description outlines the what’s and why’s of the process, and the Acceptance Criteria instructs the reader how to tell if the Story has a happy or sad ending.


It all starts with the Event.

Once you know the highest priority Epics and Component deliverables that must be implemented first, then brainstorm and list all the reasons why the Customer accesses the online portion of your application. Because I’ve previously written about the Customer Account Maintenance Component of an Online Banking app in my post Write Better Stories, I’ll use that same example, but approach Story identification from an Event Modeling perspective.

Here are just a few Customer Account Maintenance Online Events:

  • Customer receives Welcome Letter and wants to setup Online Access
  • Customer wants to setup Mobile Access
  • Customer wants to update personal information, such as physical addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, etc.
  • Customer cannot remember password
  • Customer wants to change password

Each one of these Events represents at least one Story that starts with “As an online banking customer, I want to…so that I can…”

Once you’ve exhausted all the Events that describe reasons why the Customer wants access the application, then brainstorm all back-end processes needed to support the online ones.

Some back-end Events could include:

  • New Customer application approval generates Welcome Letter to access new account
  • Customer account password expires
  • Customer incorrect password attempts triggers online account lock
  • By viewing the application from the Customer perspective, isn’t it easier to identify what Stories to write?

What tips and techniques do you use to get your Story writing juices flowing? Do share!

Cynthia Kahn

Cynthia Kahn


Cynthia Kahn  503.799.5500


  1. Craig Rawstron says:

    This comment isn’t about writing juices, more the style of Story.

    As an Online Banking Customer…. etc is one way of writing Stories – and as Online Banking Customers only do, what – a dozen processes max? – that’s fine.

    I have worked on systems where there can be dozens if not, over a hundred processes that someone might do. Then you cannot see the wood for the trees as all the Stories start in the same way. I then swap to the “In Order to… etc” method. That way you are pointing to the actual process, and the Stories are easier to separate out.

    So “In order to reset my password, as an Online Banking Customer… etc”.

    • Cynthia Kahn says:

      Great suggestion. Start with what you need to accomplish. Begin with the end in mind. Brilliant! Thank you.