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Houston, TX /

What’s a conflict box and why should I care?

Improving 10111 Richmond Ave , Houston, TX (map)


Continuing series on writing good user stories, our next meet up will focus on how to write stories for the "other stakeholders".

Join us for an exciting talk by John Cavnar-Johnson from Improving!

Dinner will be provided.


6:00 - 6:30 (Dinner + Networking)

6:30 - 7:30 (Presentation)

7:30 - 8:00 (Questions/Closing Remarks)

What’s a conflict box and why should I care?

Most Scrum user stories do a good job of describing the goal of their protagonist (usually in the “When” of Given-When-Then). But what about the goals of the antagonist(s) or other stakeholders? Most good stories, even romances, involve resolving conflicts that arise from characters with differing goals. In my experience as an Agile developer, the most subtle and costly bugs have been caused by a failure to understand the competing goals of various stakeholders. I’m proposing that we borrow a tool from novelists called the conflict box to provide a safe(r) way to discuss the requirements of all the actors in our systems. Using real-world examples, I’ll show how using this tool can avoid costly rework and, in extreme cases, catastrophic failures.

John’s been practicing Agile software development since accidentally engaging in pair programming in 1995. He’s worked on many Agile projects, many more that claimed to be Agile, but weren’t, and even helped a few companies get started with Agile development. He’s currently working as a Principal Consultant with Improving in Houston, Texas. In his spare time, he reads a wide variety of fiction and loves to hear and tell good stories.


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