The Agile method is driven by User Stories, brief statements each of which articulates a specific goal and identifies who the goal serves and what it accomplishes. Here are a few examples:
- As an individual donations officer I want a list of all new donations over $1000 so that I can write handwritten thank you cards.
- As a program coordinator I want to identify needs for a new beneficiary so I can match the beneficiary to potential providers.
- As the Finance Director I want to see real-time information on gifts received by category so I can identify potential shortfalls early and adjust budgets and/or fundraising efforts accordingly.
Ultimately you, the client, know your business the best and you define the User Stories. You should expect your consultant to help you, though, by asking lots of questions. Questions like:
- What do you do next?
- Why do you need that information?
- Who needs that information?
- When/how often do you need that information?
- Can we break that down into smaller pieces or make it more specific?
- What would you do to check whether that need is met?
You’ll certainly spend some time at the beginning of the project coming up with User Stories, but don’t worry if you forget a few at the beginning. That’s perfectly normal and you can add new User Stories any time. You may even come up with ideas you’d never even thought of once you start using pieces of your new system and see the potential it unlocks. Go ahead and add those, too!