User stories form the heart of the Extreme Programming methodology planning game. In its turn, Extreme Programming is one of the supporting pillars of the wider Agile Software Development process. The user stories form a set of central work products that determine the software development processes. In the spirit of Extreme Programming the production of user stories is kept as simple as possible. Traditionally, user stories are hand written on index cards as they are easy to store, display, rearrange and distribute to the co-located development team. However, virtually all other work products of an application development team are in electronic format, and Agile Software development is increasingly being adopted by teams working from remote locations. In these circumstances distributed development teams look to software solutions for creating and using user stories. This paper surveys some of the tools that are being used and examines their suitability for the task using a set of requirements. As a result of this investigation the author has produced a prototype user story software tool for Agile Software Development called DotStories. The paper concludes by discussing the features of DotStories and its how closely it can approach the ideal user story software tool. Indeed, the proposition that software tools can ever improve on index cards is considered in the light of experience to date.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/michael_rees/5/