How to convert requirements into user stories and acceptance criteria


If intrigue or the desire to learn has pulled you to this blog, you are in the right place. Both user stories and acceptance criteria are aspects every product specialist needs to be proficient in. Consider requesting your development team to build a chatbot function for a website. You anticipate that it will be simple and not the main attraction of the entire page. 

Now, consider instead of creating a feature with simplistic designs, the development team makes one with numerous categories and attention-grabbing layouts. Strictly speaking, this is also correct, but it needs revision to what you had in mind. User stories and acceptance criteria outline the collective expectations of all stakeholders and the required solution to meet those needs. So, it becomes imperative to distill and document the precise user expectations and approval criteria.

There is no simple way to make the entire team work per this flow or to move from a different framework. Let’s remove the mechanics of this procedure from the picture so that the team is free to respond to it however they see fit as a whole. Every method here will be successful or unsuccessful depending on how well two things are understood in particular:

  • Functionality (feature) (feature)
  • Acceptance (non-functional traits) (non-functional attributes)

Thus, how do we understand people’s expectations and the to-be-developed functionality? The answer to demonstrating expected capability and approval are user story and acceptance criteria.

What is a User Story?

Wikipedia defines User Story as a casual, everyday summary of a software system’s characteristics. These may be recorded and written from the end user’s or system user’s POV. Thus, a User Story is an adequately communicated demand. This style of developing requirements is preferred mainly because: 

  • It emphasizes the end user’s POV, who will be the most impacted. It is the quickest way to distinguish between the generated and pre-existed.
  • It assists in making the underlying purpose of the requirement clear, as it facilitates simple requirement definition.
  • It captures each demand in a feature- and value-oriented manner rather than a solution-oriented manner, thus, making it less likely that the end users will object to it.

It is essential for teams developing the product to have these stories/goals connected to the entire business value it offers. It’sIt’s crucial to grasp what I mean by requirements before we delve further into learning how to develop user stories. 

Understanding the requirements: What makes a good User Story?

A feature, service, restriction, or anything that meets user demand can be a project necessity. The first step is to take down all the necessary data and thoroughly read through them to comprehend the project’s goals, essential components, and all restrictions or limitations. To accurately accumulate data, you can:

  • Conduct stakeholder interviews with all required parties, including SMEs, end users, and product owners, and learn about their objectives and requirements. Have open-ended questions and take notes whenever necessary to comprehend the feature’sfeature’s underlying sentiment, aims, and needs rather than the solution itself.  
  • Use personas to thoroughly comprehend desires, objectives, and user actions and better direct your growth.
  • Use Story Mapping better to comprehend the relationship between user stories and features.
  • Utilize pre-existing models at times to derive an apt User Story; there is no need to create the wheel from scratch at every level of development.

Writing user stories is easy when you have the data gathered from understanding the requirements. The most popular template is a title and a statement that reads, “As a user, I want to do this so that this happens to finish this.”

These statements explicitly express what a user wants and why, together with all underlying goals. There are many different templates available. Also, as a good practice, attempt to remain with the same template throughout the project. Likewise, it is vital to remember that the team needs things to be kept simple.

How do you know if the direction (of writing a user story) is correct?

A good User Story should possess the following qualities:

  • Independent

User stories need to be independent to ensure smooth movement between phases with less impact on other tales. If two stories are closely related, you must consider integrating them into a single narrative.

  • Negotiable

Founded on understanding assumptions and input, user stories shouldn’tshouldn’t be considered “written in stone” and should allow for changes in response to the feedback.

  • Valuable

User stories should benefit the user and the solution owner by clearly demonstrating the business value. These should be highlighted, not the assignment.

  • Estimable 

User Stories should be brief enough to estimate and lengthy to complement each other within a sprint or iteration.

  • Small

User stories should be brief and concentrated on a single demand or feature.

  • Testable

User stories should provide appropriate acceptance criteria and be testable.

You can choose and use different frameworks, such as DEEP, SMART, RUMBA, CUPID, etc., in addition to the one called INVEST. Choose just one of them to ensure better coordination, concision, understanding, and clarity.

Acceptance criteria

After you have a good user story, you must support it with appropriate acceptance criteria. These are only the requirements that a product must fulfill to be accepted by a user, a customer, or any other stakeholder, technically speaking. An acceptance criterion brings clarity to a user story through:

  • adding detail to the feature scope
  • describing adverse situations
  • establishing communication
  • accelerating acceptability testing
  • carrying out evaluations

It becomes vital to synchronize everything because every stakeholder maintains their opinion on the best course of action for accepting the user story and acceptance criteria or what is best for the product and business according to them. There is typically no set format for writing because it might change depending on the end user, the type of user narrative, or the stakeholders involved. But two of the widely used formats are:

  • Given-when-then
    • A scenario describes the title
    • Given- the precondition
    • When – a user does an action
    • Then – this is expected
    • And this, too (can be continued) 
  • Rule-based

You can begin by listing all the rules that the user story and user expectations must follow. 

Bonus step: Refine and iterate

Writing user stories and acceptance criteria is a continuous activity. It’s a process that needs to be refined and iterated over time. It’s vital to solicit feedback from all interested parties and to be open to making as many adjustments as are required.


It is both a science and an art to translate requirements into user stories and acceptance criteria, and it is a complex process. As this depends entirely on reason, experience, and product expertise, this is the only instrument or course on the market to do this for you. By applying this approach and becoming an expert, you and your business may create products that fully satisfy consumer requirements.

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