What is the difference between a User Story and a Feature in Agile terminology?

What is the difference between a User Story and a Feature in Agile terminology?

Yes, something like a subset. This article is a good read:
Features vs Stories


I realized today that I hadnt made
explicit the difference in my mind
between features and stories and its
an important difference. Essentially,
a feature is a group of stories that
are related and deliver a package of
functionality that end users would
generally expect to get all at once.
For instance, inline table resizing is
a feature (note: this is the ability
to drag to resize tables, rows and
columns – try it in Word). In the
first pass, youd probably have a
single story for inline resizing of
tables, but it would be too big to
estimate. So you break it down into
three stories, resize columns, resize
rows and resize the table itself.

According to Kent Beck and Martin Fowler stories and features are synonyms:

A user story is a chunk of
functionality (some people use the
word feature) that is of value to
the customer.

What you call a feature is usually referred to as theme or epic. Themes and epics are used to group user stories to bigger feature sets, that make sense on their own.

From a more semantic point of view: feature is a part of the system you are trying to build, user story is a way to describe that part.


As Pascal has pointed out – I maybe missed the real meaning of feature in that citation (feature obviously refers to functionality) Apart of this, I still think that one can use these words (feature and user story) as synonyms in a lot of contexts (Im working on this story vs. Im working on this feature), since, as Pascal said, a user story is a way to capture a feature. Which means there is a 1:1 relationship between those two. And, as can be seen from my remark about the semantics, this is how I really understand it.

What is the difference between a User Story and a Feature in Agile terminology?

Not at all..

A user story represents small parts of business value.
So it is really difficult to say when an user story is a subset of a feature or a feature is a subset of a user story (also keep in mind that the user stories are usually written by the stakeholders, which tend not to know exactly what they want … 🙂 )

So, if you follow the recommendation of agile to keep the stories short you would fall on the best scenario that is the user story being a subset of the feature.

However if your stakeholder write long stories, each story would have a couple of features ( if there is a good communication between the team and the stakeholders this wont happen since the team will break the stories into small ones)

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