We were discussing an issue with a client today. It was about getting some hardware installed that involved a series of tasks like getting racks, loading them, having the machines setup with some config and so on. The person in charge of this area was asking for stories to be created for each of these tasks "so that the work could be tracked".
The manager we were talking to was questioning the value of this with the logic that these are just simple tasks that need to be done by one small team to get the machines installed. How will having stories to track this help?
The idea of having a story is to track how delivering upon a small discrete requirement can generate business value for the business. Whats the point of generating more overhead with creating, delivering to and tracking a story for such low level tasks?
Then I thought, how do you quantify this business value per story? If the complete goal is to build a retail POS system, then what business value can I have by just getting a story to work where it lets the user scan a barcode and have the value register? If the rest of the system (and maybe 200+ stories) don't get done or don't work, then the miniscule "business value" of this scanning story is meaningless.
So then at what level does story breakdown make sense? To me, it now seems more of a development nicety to break it down so it fits in an iteration, give closure, blah blah.