Epic vs. feature vs. user story

StarAgilecalenderLast updated on August 09, 2022book10 minseyes22426

What is an Epic?

The epic is the large item of the work that can be broken down into smaller user stories or tasks. This starts from the customer requirements which is vague and only has functional values of the projects.


The product description is in terms of large requirements that contain values that must be comprehended by the product supplier. The customer does not know how the product may look like when first conceptualized.


These things become difficult and the Supplier Company with the help of the product owner, sales, customer account manager, and customer project representation must think about the solution to the customer problems, the needs or the requirements.


The customer requirements are converted into large items that together form the solution. These large items which are vague are called Epics in the agile methodology of software development. These items cannot be used directly to form the tasks to work on.


However, these epics do form the part of the product backlog along with other user stories. Learn the definitions and lot more about scrum in Scrum master certification online training at StarAgile.


Let us come from the top to see what an epic is and what level it is in the organization in the agile methodology of the development.


The organization will have a theme which is an organizational goal to create epics and initiatives.

Then comes the initiative which is nothing but the creation of the project goals and teams for the creation of epics.


Next is the epic which is nothing but large items of the project which is further broken down into smaller parts.


What is a feature?


A feature is a collection of user stories that are realized after the spring backlog implementation is done or the work is done. A feature is not a user story but is the functionality that delivers considerable value to the customer.


For example – A feature may be an admin dashboard that is made in the application for the customer to use it as one of the functionalities on the website that is going to be delivered to the client. This is a simple example of what a feature is.


Another example is it can be transaction-related functionality in the customer’s website. They are the collection of tasks completed in the sprint backlog to satisfy the definition of done in the “work done” column in the Kanban board or the Scrum chart.


There are many softwares that help in visualizing the workflow from the product backlog to sprint backlog and finally to the work done stages. The collection of tasks completed in the sprint backlog forms the feature and it is generally a customer requirement or the functionality that the customer wants from the projects or the small portion of the product realization that the customer wants. A group of features ultimately forms the product that the customer wants.


Register for the Scrum Master Certification training online to know more about the scrum concepts.


What is a user story?


A user story is the broken down version of epics that are smaller when compared to epic and can be put in the product backlog with priority to make it as a task in the sprint backlog. These are not exactly the feature but the individual tasks that needs to be completed to form the feature.  These are the smallest representation of the customer requirements that can be assigned individually to a resource for completion.


For example – In the above paragraph on the feature we have seen that the admin dashboard in the website may be the feature then one of the user stories is the ability to the admin to add, modify or delete the user. This is just one portion of the dashboard that we have already discussed. Examples of user stories are


  • The ability of the student to download the transcript from the online website                             
  • The ability of the student to upload the answer paper to the database through the online website, etc.


The user stories are first sequenced and prioritized in the product backlog and then assigned to a resource as a particular task. These tasks are individually completed by the resource as per the definition of done and this ticket or the card is moved to the “Work Done” column.


Agile epic Vs feature


Epics is large items in the project that are further broken down into user stories. It needs significant efforts to complete an epic. The epics are not completed items; they can be described as the items that are made by understanding the customer requirements in terms of functionality. They are generally made by the product owner, account manager or customer representative along with the scrum master. These can be included in the product backlog bucket along with the user stories. They generally occupy the first bucket in the scrum chart or Kanban chart. These are unfinished items.


Whereas the feature is a collection of completed user stories or a collection of completed small tasks that form one of the delivery goals of the customer requirements. The difference is that features are completed as partial goals of the project. They form part of the product that must be delivered to the customer. Features are generally smaller than epic and larger than the user stories.


The epic cannot be developed or programmed but features can be developed by the developers. The epic is contemplated by the product owner or the account executive along with a scrum master. Whereas the features are developed by the leadership development team. Scrum is used as a base for any project management in many industries. Learn Certified scrum master online at StarAgile.


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Difference between a user story and feature


The difference between the user story and feature is distinct. The feature is a collection of user stories.


The examples of the Features are


1)     An admin dashboard in an application to oversee the efforts of the users and login details of the users

2)     A financial transaction suite to be built on the website.


The examples of user stories based on the above features are as follows,


User story 1: an item to build the dashboard functionality to calculate the efforts

User story 1: an item to build the dashboard functionality to allow users to login


User story 2: an item to allow the financial transaction with the credit cards

User story 2: an item to allow the financial transaction with the credit cards securely.


Now you see that a feature may have multiple user stories and a collection of the user stories forms the feature. The user stories cannot be further broken down and are made as tasks in the sprint backlog events. The feature can be broken down further into multiple user stories. If you are interested in career growth register now for CSM certification online at StarAgile institute.

Tabulate Epic Vs feature Vs user story


Serial CategoriesEpicsFeaturesUser stories
1DefinitionLarge items which are vaguely derived from the requirementsFeatures are completed functionality in the productSmallest representation of the scrum events
2The ownerProduct Leadership teamLeadership Development Teamworked on by Development team
3ExampleWebsite for admin and users functionalityDashboard for the admin and usersThe functionality of the dashboard to add, modify and delete users by the admin
4In which columns  they represent in the scrum chartProduct BacklogWork DoneProduct Backlog
5Elementary formsCan be converted into features and user storiesCollection of user stories forms the features. They are smaller than epic and larger than user storiesThe smallest element in the  product backlog which are then converted to task in the sprint backlog


Final Takeaway

We have discussed the part of the scrum in this article, if you are interested in learning more, then we recommend you to take up the scrum master certification at StarAgile. StarAgile is a partner training institute for Scrum Alliance. The above-mentioned topics are covered in detail in the CSM Certification training program. Enrol now and reap the benefits of becoming the scrum master with career growth and salary growth. Keep Learning!!!


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