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Heard about User Stories... what's Business Stories?

Reading time: 15 mins  I  Scanning time: 6 mins  I  Grasp time: 30 mins (approx.)  I  Sept 30, 2021  I  by Saikat Roy

Image by Austin Distel

Photo courtesy of Unsplash!

Before we begin, it's important for you to understand what a user story is. If you have not heard about it yet or you are unable to recall, there's tons of article online over here like this, this and this. There's also an wikipedia article over here.

Still, to start with article I need to give a brief about what user story is and what's the format. A user story from the perspective of product design is ideally a framework to understand the user need for a particular functionality. It is a part of assumption based design which can then be validated through user testing. And ideal user story format looks like this:

In a <ecosystem>, As a <user>

An ideal user story example in this format would be this.

In a house, 

Now this is an ideal user story, as been described over here. It's an interesting article. But in general, this how how most of the user stories are written.

As a user

And this is widely used by product designers and product managers to come up with a functionality or features within a digital/ physical product.

Now the question is 'what are then business stories'?

Well, to start talking about it, let's start with the problem statement and then the need for it.

Back when User Experience Design was a hype of the town and there were talks about 'user knows everything', 'did we test this with users if they like it or not', 'user is the king', 'this is not user centric'... and all UX designers cared only about users. There were researchers who only talked to users, the information architects who only understood about the mental model of users and created flows based on that, and lastly the UX designers who advocated and fought with the business and tech people for the users. And it was well accepted norms. Yes, history proved it. Take care of the users and everything will fall in place. Look at Google and Apple in 2010s.

It worked! Because there were so less companies providing a user entered design.

Now, as we talk in 2020s, it's a norm. And not making a product user-centric is a sin. A sin that will not let you go up the costumer ladder. So it have become generic over time. All companies are doing it, since user expects it.

Now, what's the new Moat? What's the new competitive advantage through design for a product?

That's the beginning of the emergence of business stories.

Some companies without even coining the term, are already practicing it. Merging user and business stories to create a better product.

Now, might be the good time to talk about Business Stories.

Let's start with Walt Disney quote:
"Make make money to make better movies."

The user will always want the best experience and the company need to provide it. But what's the ROI of your design for the business? Is the company also making money on the product over an above what they spend on your design team (and in turn product and tech team)? After all, we can only provide better experience for a user, if the company lights and on and enough money to pay the bill, isn't it. Company hired you (a designer, be of whatever form or criteria) to grasp more users or satisfy users, and in turn make money. Simple. Making money is the objective.

As a designer, are you helping the business thrive in that sector alongside by not upsetting your users? That's your current job as a designer (from the business point of view).


to be continued... with rest of the article

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