Improvement Stories: a simple alternative to User Stories

You are the Product Owner for a Scrum Team. Your team has just released a brilliant feature they have been working on for months: Change History. Change history allows to track who made what changes to users. Everybody is excited and happy the feature will be finally shipped.

Users love the new feature, but they immediately provide feedback. After the feature is released, you end up with a list of 10 small improvements you want your team to work on.

Translating the list of improvements to User Stories

You start writing User Stories, but boy is it a lot of effort. It is difficult to write clear User Stories for these changes. The improvements seem so small and simple, why is it so hard to capture them in User Stories? You also get the feeling that you are repeating yourself. After all, you already have great User Stories for the features these improvements belong to.

For example, you notice the user change history overview takes about 10 seconds to load, so you start writing a User Story:

As an administrator, I want the change history overview to load quicker, so that I have less waiting time.

You also notice there is no hover state on the filter row of change history, even though this violates UI guidelines. You try to capture this in the following User Story:

As an administrator, I want the filter row of change history to have a hover state, so the affordance is clearer.

2 User Stories down, 8 more to go. Using User Stories does not feel natural at all. Is there a better way to write these User Stories?

Enter Improvement Stories. Improvement Stories are great for small improvements. You already have User Stories that explain the context really well. You just want to make some small improvements. The User Stories describe the problem you are solving for what user. You just want to make some small tweaks. So you just link the Improvement Stories to your existing User Stories. Now you and your team can easily access the context of the existing User Stories if necessary for deeper understanding. The Improvement Stories get to remain small.

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