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Is “As a ..” nomenclature the most efficient way to define user stories?

Is “As a ..” nomenclature most efficient way to define user story?

Consider the following user story

“As an administrator, I should be able to reset password so that user who has forgotten his password can recover his account”

While aforesaid looks like a great self explanatory user story which makes complete sense to a product owner and rest of the team (and something which is advocated by many), I’ve three contentions to take a note of. Though they are trivial enough to change your current behaviour, but worthy of a mention.

1. As a team member, I really don’t need “As a”

Which user story of the two below is more succinct?

As an Administrator, I should be able to reset password
The administrator can reset password

I reached to several developers and the response was common – “While first is pretty elaborative, the second one is as succinct to us”. Infact some (who sometimes write user story), liked second more.

2. Stories use the past tense

Prince should be able to take the magical sword out, defeat the dragon, and rescue the princess.

Does this sound like a great story? Probably not as we aren’t used to listening to stories which are narrated in future tense and that too with some level of uncertainty. Most of the time, a story is told in the context of past – “Prince took out his magical sword, defeated the dragon and rescued the princess” OR in the present tense – “Prince takes out his magical sword, defeats the dragon and rescues the princess”. So why shouldn’t a user story be conveyed the same way (or change it to user requirement)?

Again, compare which is more succinct:

As an Administrator, I should be able to reset the password so that the user can recover his account
Admin resets user’s forgotten password

3. Please shorten it! I can’t see the text.

If you’ve ever felt frustrated to see a JIRA board like below, you’d get where I’m coming from:

This JIRA snapshot (standard FULL HD monitor) shows 2 user stories. First is the longer version and second is shorter version of the same stories I mentioned above. I remember I always had to hover over story to see that full text popup or select the story to see its details on right pane.


So, if this all makes sense, and you are fine with breaking standard recommendations, you can create equally succinct stories with lesser keystrokes using following template:

As an , I should be able to so that

can be made more succinct as

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