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What are Epics & User stories in Agile?

Last Updated : 12 Dec, 2023
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Agile is a collaborative approach and is widely adopted by teams. There are several iterations in Agile as there is no limit to backtracking to the previous development phase. In this way, agile serves the best version as the final product. Epic and User Stories are two important concepts used for requirements management and planning.

What is Agile Epic?

Epics is a hierarchy of work, composed of smaller to-dos and user stories, that your team completes over multiple sprints. Within the Agile paradigm, epics are crucial because they give teams a useful, shared vocabulary and method to utilize when organizing their work.

  • The tasks are completed in short bursts of time called sprints.
  • The goals within an epic are called stories and within the stories are tasks called objectives.
  • The epic hierarchy is a way of dividing large goals into smaller units to allow for rapid iterative revisions.
  • The development backlog can have many future epics identified and prioritized and, just in time, we break them down only when we’re nearing the time that we’re getting ready to deliver them.
  • Agile epics break your stories down into more manageable chunks, collecting those tasks and splitting the workload into a more realistic flow.


As a Technical Content Writer at GeeksforGeeks, I follow the agile approach of picking the article and then submitting it for review until the reviewer is satisfied with the content. I search for different titles in the pick section and contribute to each topic. Choosing the topic “What are Epics & User stories in Agile? And how different they are” is an Epic of agile development process while choosing more topics for contributions will be counted as different epics.

What is Story?

User stories give the team important context and associate tasks with the value those tasks bring. During a sprint or iteration planning meeting, the team decides what stories they’ll tackle during that sprint. These are a way to communicate and manage user requirements.

  • A user story is the smallest unit of work in an Agile, a short, informal explanation of a software feature, written from the perspective of the end user.
  • User stories describe the why and the what behind the day-to-day work of development team members.
  • A good structure helps the Agile team to have a common understanding.
  • User stories put the voice of the customer at the centre and keep every member of the team focused on their needs. It outlines the desired outcome of a task.


Read the above example of epics to understand about user stories, While dealing with the epic named “What are Epics & User stories in Agile? And how different they are”, I divide article/epic into different subtopic and work on it in sprints till the deadline. So for the given epic, different user stories are “What is Agile Epic”, “What is story”, “Epic v/s Story”.

Epic vs Story



User Story


It is a piece of work that’s broken down into specific tasks based on the needs of customers or end-users.

User story is a piece of functionality from the perspective of an end-user, which developers use to build the software.


Its scope is along multiple sprints

Its scope is within a given iteration/sprint


It is long term

It is short term.


It provides foundation to user stories

It is a subset of epics.


It represents a part of work for achieving the task

It represents a specific and manageable task.


It is less detailed

It is more detailed


Epics span multiple functionalities or modules within a software system.

User Story is small and focused for a particular feature.


Epics are typically written in a brief, high-level format and can be used for building user stories

User Story is typically written in a specific format addressing what features need to be developed in each sprints.


Epics can be prioritized based on business value or strategic importance.

It is independent, meaning they can be implemented and tested in isolation.


The product backlog is used to manage epics, which are ranked according to their total commercial value.

User stories are a component of the sprint backlog, prioritized for the next sprint.


Epics and user stories are widely used in agile lifecycle. A product manager needs to balance the epics and user stories throughout the product development. This article will provide a strong base in delaing with agile concepts.

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