Analyzing Variances in User Story Characteristics: A Comparative Study of Stakeholders with Diverse Domain and Technical Knowledge in Software Requirements Elicitation


February 28, 2024


Background: In Agile software development, an essential initial stage is eliciting software requirements. This process engages stakeholders to achieve comprehensive results. However, a common issue is the variance in domain and technical knowledge among stakeholders, potentially impacting the quality of software requirements elicitation.

Objective: Understanding the characteristics of user stories produced by stakeholders becomes crucial, particularly considering the differences in domain and technical knowledge. This study aims to compare the characteristics of user stories generated by stakeholders with varying backgrounds in domain and technical expertise.

Methods: The initial step involves categorizing respondents into distinct stakeholder groups. Three stakeholders are involved in this study, constituting a combination of those with high and low technical and domain knowledge. Subsequently, data collection of user stories is conducted across various case studies. Finally, the acquired user stories are analyzed for further insights.

Results: The analysis reveals variations in user stories generated by the three stakeholder categories across the three case studies. Stakeholders with domain knowledge tend to focus on 'what' aspects with task elements and 'why' aspects with hard-goal elements. Meanwhile, technical knowledge crafts user stories with capability elements in the 'what' aspect. Utilizing the QUS framework, it is evident that technical knowledge consistently produces a higher number of high-quality user stories across all quality categories,

Conclusion: The contribution offered by this study lies in determining the distinct characteristics of user stories produced by different types of stakeholders, focusing on disparities in domain and technical knowledge. The study highlights the comparison of various characteristics of user story elements, such as hard-goals, soft-goals, tasks, or capabilities, and assesses the quality of user stories based on the user story framework. Additionally, it endorse the importance of process innovation in shaping the requirements gathering process and subsequently influencing the quality of user stories.


Keywords: User story, Agile Software Development, Requirements Elicitation, Stakeholder, Domain Knowledge, Process Innovation

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