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We've just deployed a new system for our users. The product owner asked us to check the log files every day in the next iteration for error messages and exceptions. We have written the following user story:

As a [web system] user I want that developers to check log files every day in the next iteration for errors so I don't have to file bug tickets for trivial bugs/get better service.

Is it a valid user story? If not, could it be rewritten to be a valid user story? How? (We had some debate about that with the product owner whether it is worth story points or not.)

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I would focus more on the "developers" than the users at first, but justify the work as a benefit to users. Something like:

As a developer I want to check the log files every day for errors so I can investigate and fix problems before users notice them, and to decrease outages.

There are actually three parties who benefit from this:

  1. Users - They get an application that seems reliable
  2. Business - They get happy users, and production problems get fixed in a timely manner.
  3. Developers - They don't have to get woken up at 3 a.m. to fix a production problem that began at 2 a.m. the previous day
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As it stands, I don't think it's a valid user story because of the indirect relationship between the user and the rest of the story -- "as a user I want the developers...."

It's also vague, hard if not impossible to estimate and test, and is a perpetual activity rather than a one-time series of tasks that can be completed.

Perhaps it could be written as a user story if there was a concrete goal. For example: the daily automated generation of an error log, or a feature that would allow users to easily flag errors without having to submit a full defect entry.

Edit: Your update to the question does define this better as a task, but I still don't think it's a valid user story because again, it's hard to determine an acceptance test that demonstrates the business value for the user. What does "check the log files" entail, and to what level of detail? Also if there are errors in the log, might that imply that the user has had to file a bug ticket anyway, defeating the stated purpose of the task?

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  • Thank you! Unfortunately I've missed an important point, question updated.
    – user149497
    Sep 18, 2014 at 7:55

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