I figured I might as well make it a separate post since it’s somewhat a topic of its own.
- A “User Story” is a backlog item. nothing strange there, its everything you think it is. Its format is “As a
I want to so that .”.
- A Theme (to me at least) is a large User Story.
- An Epic (to me at least) is a VERY large User Story.
For example, if you’re building “user administration features” your typical User Story, once it enters a sprint, might be something like “As an Administrator I want to be able to add users so that I can give a person an account to login with.”. That could be the “normal” size of a story that is far up in the product backlog, i.e. close to development. It’s pretty small.
Earlier in the process (further down in the backlog) it could be represented as “As an Administrator I want to be able to administer users of the system so that I can determine who has what access to the system.”. Notice the difference. This is a Theme. It’s much bigger and much less detailed than the story above. But it’s still not massive, and with some discussion it’s possible to figure out roughly what reasonably is hiding behind that formulation.
Earlier still (even further down in the backlog), the formulation could have been something like “As a System Owner I want various administration features so that I can control the behavior of the system.”. This story could be considered an Epic because it is so large and so generic and loosely formulated that it can cover a huge amount of different things.