In many projects I have been working on, I often have seen that it can be problematic to get the product owner to create users stories with business value. The product owner understands what he or she wants, but forgets to focus on what is important to the business. If you run into this in a project, you should tell the product owner that he or she never should create a user story that have no business value.
If the customer find it difficult to get the userstories down on paper, a pattern like the one below can helpe the product owner (or also the team) to get started:
As a ROLE I want to ACTION so that BUSINESS VALUE (IS MEET)
Every user that interacts with the system should be put into a ROLE. Roles can be a user, a administrator, a report viewer and so on.
The ACTION is what the role is doing to the system.
The BUSINESS VALUE shoud be something that gives value to the business (or at least value to something using the system).
Here is a example of a user story that contains a business value:
As a user I want to log in with a password and a username so I can buy a Ipod.
And a example of a user story that probably doesn't contain any business value:
As a user I want to click a button so that the background color changes to green.
The last example does not give any business value to the customer and shoud never be added to the backlog in the first place. If the product owner later wants to add this story, it's ok, but it should be proritized last in the sprint.
Next time you are doing sprint plannig you should try to follow this simple rules, and I think you will end up with less features to be done in the sprint and you also will give the customer a application full of business value.