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Breaking User Stories for Effective MVP Development

May 31, 2023


MVP, a Minimum Viable Product, means a partial or minimum product capable of successfully working. As customer demands rapidly evolve, organizations also seek strategies and best methods to keep them happy. It’s an application-oriented world, and numerous startups and small teams can quickly develop apps that match customer demands, whether it be a web app or a website. Therefore, it is crucial to empathize with customers, understand their demands and urgency, and acknowledge the growing competition they face.

MVP serves as a beneficial strategy for both customers and developers. Developers receive quick feedback from customers, which aids in future enhancements and meeting customer requirements when building the product. However, in my personal opinion, MVPs should not be considered as quick or temporary fixes. They must not compromise on quality and should not be developed solely to meet customer demands or silence them. Customers are not “kids crying for chocolates.”

Therefore, any MVP must hold as much value as the finished product itself. The iterative nature of developing an MVP in an agile environment is its greatest advantage. Gathering feedback, identifying the root cause of problems, and fixing them allows for the creation of a high-quality product. Now, the question arises: “How can effective MVPs be built?” The solution lies in breaking down complex user stories or features to identify and build an effective MVP that specifically solves the problem at hand and delivers value to users.

How to break the User Stories to identify effective MVPs ?

To break down user stories in order to identify and build an effective and impactful Minimum Viable Products (MVPs), a structured approach can be followed. Development teams can leverage user stories to create MVPs that address user needs and deliver value. Here is the process one can follow to identify effective MVPs.

Understand User Roles and Goals

To begin the process, it is crucial to gain a deep understanding of user roles and goals within the product ecosystem. This understanding allows for the creation of user stories that capture the specific needs and expectations of each user segment. Consider the following steps:

  • Conduct user research and analysis to identify the different user roles and their objectives.
  • Engage with stakeholders, product owners, and users to gather insights into user needs and pain points.
  • Document user personas and their corresponding goals to establish a foundation for user story creation.

Collaborative User Story Creation

Creating user stories is a collaborative effort that involves cross-functional team members. By bringing together product owners, designers, developers, and other stakeholders, a holistic perspective can be achieved. 

  • Conduct brainstorming sessions with the team to generate user stories that align with user roles and goals.
  • Use techniques like user story mapping, where user stories are visualized and organized into a logical flow.
  • Encourage open communication and active participation to foster collaboration and ensure a comprehensive understanding of user needs.

Apply the INVEST Principles

To ensure well-defined and actionable user stories, apply the INVEST principles during the creation process. These principles guide the creation of user stories that are easier to implement and validate. 

  • Independent: User stories should be self-contained and not dependent on other stories.
  • Negotiable: User stories should be open to discussion and refinement during the development process.
  • Valuable: User stories should provide value to the end-users and align with their needs and goals.
  • Estimable: User stories should be clear and understandable, allowing for accurate estimation of effort and resources required.
  • Small: User stories should be broken down into smaller, manageable tasks that can be completed within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Testable: User stories should have clear acceptance criteria, making them testable and measurable.

User-Centric Language and Perspective

When breaking user stories, it is crucial to use user-centric language to ensure clear communication and alignment with user perspectives. By adopting the user’s point of view, development teams can create MVPs that resonate with users. Consider the following strategies:

  • Use language that reflects the user’s goals, needs, and pain points.
  • Frame user stories from the user’s perspective, emphasizing the value they will receive from the MVP.
  • Regularly validate and refine user stories based on user feedback and insights.

Story Slicing Technique

The story slicing technique allows for the breakdown of user stories into smaller, functional increments. This technique enables early value delivery and faster feedback loops. 

  • Identify the core functionality and value of the user story.
  • Break down the user story into smaller, manageable tasks or features.
  • Prioritize the tasks or features based on their impact and value to the end-users.
  • Implement and release the sliced user stories in iterations, allowing for incremental development and continuous user feedback.

Case Study: Breaking User Stories to Identify Effective MVPs

Let’s consider a hypothetical situation where a customer approaches a company for website enhancement. Initially, the web development company suggests a complete enhancement of the website, considering future scalability and expansion. However, the customer emphasizes their urgency to make the website public as soon as possible. To accommodate this request, the company promptly decides to prioritize the development of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) consisting of three essential pages: Home, About Us, and Contact Us. These pages were selected as the minimum set required to provide prospects with comprehensive information about the company and a means to connect.

Approach to the Problem 

1.Understanding the Problem and Identifying User Roles and Goals

To develop an effective MVP, it is crucial to understand the problem at hand and identify the user roles and goals. In this case, the primary user role was the prospect visiting the website, with the goal of obtaining information about the company and initiating contact.

2. Creation of User Stories

  • As a prospect, I want to visit the Home page to quickly understand the company’s offerings and value proposition.
  • As a prospect, I want to explore the About Us page to gain insights into the company’s background, mission, and team.
  • As a prospect, I want to have an easy way to contact the company through a Contact Us form on the website.

3. Breaking User Stories to develop MVPs

Home Page:

  • Develops a visually appealing and informative landing page showcasing the company’s key offerings and benefits.
  • Includes clear and concise sections highlighting unique selling points and the value proposition.
  • Implements an intuitive navigation menu for easy access to other website pages.
  • Ensures responsive design for optimal user experience across different devices.

About Us Page:

  • Creates a dedicated page providing comprehensive information about the company’s background, mission, and vision.
  • Includes details about the team, their expertise, and their contributions.
  • Incorporates testimonials or case studies to build credibility and establish trust with prospects.

Contact Us Page:

  • Designs and implements a user-friendly Contact Us form, allowing prospects to submit inquiries and requests.
  • Includes fields for name, email address, subject, and message to capture relevant information.
  • Implements validation checks to ensure accurate and complete form submissions.
  • Sets up e-mail notifications or integrations to ensure prompt responses to prospect inquiries.


Considering the customer’s urgency, the development timeline for the MVP was as follows:

Home Page: 2 days

About Us Page: 1 day

Contact Us Page: 1 day


By breaking the user stories and developing an efficient MVP based on the identified user roles and goals, the customer can now experience the following benefits:

Enhanced Online Presence: The professionally designed and informative web pages provide a strong online presence, effectively representing the company’s brand and offerings.

Improved User Experience: The user-centric design approach ensures prospects can easily navigate the website, find the desired information, and initiate contact through a user-friendly form.

Faster Time-to-Market: By focusing on the essential webpages and breaking down the development into smaller, manageable tasks, the company quickly launched an MVP that met immediate requirements.

Early User Feedback: Releasing the MVP allows the company to gather early feedback from prospects, enabling iterative improvements based on real user insights.

In conclusion, Understanding and meeting customer needs is crucial for businesses. Developing a high-quality Minimum Viable Product (MVP) serves as an effective strategy to address customer demands while delivering value. It is important to emphasize that MVPs should not be treated as quick fixes, compromising on quality or developed solely to appease customers. Customers deserve products that hold as much value as the finished product itself.


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