SMART Goals, DEEP Product Backlog, INVEST User Stories


SpecificEveryone will have the same understanding as to what the goals are.

MeasurableWe can objectively determine if the goals have been reached.

AchievableThe stakeholders agree as to what the goals are.

RealisticWe shall be able to achieve the goals for the project with the resources we have.

Time-BasedWe will be given enough time to achieve the goals.

Detailed Enough—acceptance criteria to get started


Emergent—The Product Backlog is never “complete”  it is refined over time


Estimated Relatively—sized in terms of effort


Prioritised Ordered—by value, risk, cost, dependencies, etc.


INVEST (in) User Stories

Bill Wake’s acronym in his book Extreme Programming Explored


  • Shouldn’t be dependent on other stories
  • Stories can be worked on in any order
  • Each of them could be developed and delivered separately


  • There should be space of negotiation
  • A story is not a contract.  A story is an invitation to a conversation
  • Should capture the essence of the requirement


should clearly illustrate value to the customer.


  • A good story can be estimated
  • should be understandable
  • You can split the story to gain more clarity.


  • Should be completed in few person-weeks work.
  • Smaller stories tend to get more accurate estimates.


  • A good story is testable.
  • Several teams have reported that by requiring customer tests before implementing a story, the team is more productive.
  • Writing the tests early helps us know whether this goal is met


A good user story:
  • has a description,
  • defines acceptance criteria, 
  • can be delivered within a single sprint, 
  • has all UI deliverables available? 
  • has all (probable) dependencies identified, 
  • defines performance criteria, 
  • defines tracking criteria, and
  • is estimated by the team.


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