Actors, Stories, User Needs

To facilitate requirements-gathering for the I-210 Pilot, the Connected Corridors team employed an “actors and stories” approach. This framework was used as a starting point for meetings with I-210 stakeholders and helped focus discussions on the specific players (people, organizations, and technology) and scenarios the requirements would need to address.

  • Actors—The approach begins by defining all the major people and components that either comprise the system or will interact with it (e.g., managers, technical staff, operators, Decision Support System, etc.). These people and components are called “actors” because they perform one or more “roles” in the operation of the system.
  • Stories—Next, a narrative methodology, called a “story,” is used to elicit people’s views of how the system will work (e.g., for incident management, maintenance, daily operations, etc.). The story describes the step-by-step way in which each person envisions interacting with other parts of the system. Effectively, by describing what they expect to do and what they expect from others, and in what order they expect this to occur, people begin to define their overall expectations of the system.

As each person creates their own stories and hears the stories of others, they gain a broader understanding of the overall system and can then refine their story. As each role is better defined and each story becomes more detailed (some stories will be more detailed than others), a list of requirements is generated. One of the goals of listening to others’ stories is to work toward a common set of requirements that capture everyone’s important expectations without overly limiting the implementation details of the final system.

Click the images below for brief summaries of the actors and stories used in stakeholder discussions and how the stories relate to user needs. Complete details can be found in the Requirements Documents.

Actors Stories Mapping Stories to User Needs