In my experience within different project teams the criteria for deciding what is accepted as a user story can vary quite a bit. My main problem is that some of the stories we create aren't actually desired functionality for the customer. For example:

As a... First time customer

I want to... Sign up to the mailing list

So that I can... Get updates on new products

I personally find stories like this are there just to appease the client and capture "expected" functionality. But they aren't always based on real insight.

Has any one else faced this dilemma or something similar?

  • I'm not really sure what your question is, if it isn't a story, why would you include it? Aug 14, 2017 at 8:22
  • Are you're talking about something along the lines of a difference between what the customer wants and what (say) the marketing department want the customer to have?
    – TripeHound
    Aug 14, 2017 at 10:40
  • Sorry I realise I didn't word my question very well. Basically I want to know how people handle challenging a user story like my example. Where you think it's not reflective of what a user actually wants, but it is seen as required functionality by others in the project team. Aug 14, 2017 at 11:30

1 Answer 1


I think you need to be clear on who you believe the requirement is bad for. Is it bad for the business, or bad for the user's experience?

For example, the business may make a significant amount of sales through mailing lists so it would benefit the business to encourage sign ups, and customers may have a very high open rate on emails because they love what your business is selling, or the content within them.

The most effective way to push back on a requirement is to have data to support your argument.

If you can point to research that says 'x% of users bounce from the page after being prompted to sign up to a mailing list', or after launching a feature do some A/B testing on the feature to show how effective it is, the product owner (or requirement author) may reconsider.

Otherwise it becomes two conflicting opinions, which will be influenced by organisational structure or politics, not necessarily what is right for the user, or the business.

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