We Don’t Have User Stories. We Have Users

These days, I can’t get away from user stories. They were brought up in classes at Boom Startup accelerator. Someone bought me a book on them.

If you are at all into agile software development you are in LOVE with user stories. All the definitions sound something like this one from agilemodeling.com :

A user story is a very high-level definition of a requirement, containing just enough information so that the developers can produce a reasonable estimate of the effort to implement it.

I don’t write a lot of user stories. I meet a lot of users. There may be many things I don’t do the way “you’re supposed to” in running a tech start up, but one thing that I am pretty sure that I do right is that I spend lots of time with the people who use our games.


I spent a lot of today working on the math problems in Aztech. It’s not just asking a question but also providing hints, giving the option of an explanation, providing feedback if the player is wrong, and sometimes giving an additional hint.

When a player gets the wrong answer twice, I try to put myself in his or her place and understand what might be confusing. Thankfully, there are some outstanding teacher-consultants I have available to help. Guess what? They are in the classroom with students all day, every day.

When I’m working on Aztech, I make sure that the language changes everywhere when you click the ESPAÑOL or ENGLISH button, including the button that says “check answer”  or the text that slides down when you get a wrong answer. Writing code, I have an image of a young person playing our games and I’m trying to meet their needs and minimize their frustrations.

two kids

As I work, I’m not thinking of user stories. I’m thinking of actual users.

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