Today I read the post by Mark Levison on story slicing. It made me think of an issue I have been carrying around for a while – how to explain to ProductOwners what it means to slice features in a meaningful way. The standard answer is that each slice needs to provide business value. But what is that? I work mostly in large companies that have long release cycles (three month to one year). Sometimes the customer wishes so, sometimes to have meaningful releases it takes time to develop and test the software thoroughly. Business value is in features that are bigger than one sprint.

So, what can we gain in one sprint? Joseph Pelrine answers this in his ScrumMaster classes: information. So the V in INVEST, i.e. the value of a user story, is to provide us with information and this information can then be used to inspect and adapt our efforts towards reaching the desired business value.

We work on two levels of learning. On the one hand, we gain meaningful information, when the customer can inspect the result and tell development whether it is what (s)he intended. On the other hand, we want to gain information on our process, tools, and interaction. Thus we need to fully integrate the solution, test and document it. (Hm, maybe the “I” can also stand for “integrateable”?)

I hope this to be a helpful insight as it might offer Product Owners a new view on how to slice features into user stories that are fit for one sprint.