The Power of Story Telling for Software Testers
The power of story telling spreads across many different industries; marketing is one of the more prevalent. Capturing the attention of your intended audience, and not forgetting about your unintended audience, is critical when trying to get a message across.
Story telling in software testing is one of the more important aspects of the craft. As testers, test leads, and test managers, you do it all the time. The trick is to make the story a powerful one. The links between software testing and journalism are strong indicators of this importance. Delivering “bad news” is what testers do on a daily basis.
Story telling in software testing can be linked to the aforementioned marketing industry. Selling the information that forms your story is vital in gaining the right level of attention.
Bug advocacy is a skill that all testers should learn. “Motivating the buyer” is key when attempting to convince programmers and/or other stakeholders to spend time on the bug you're reporting (your story). Instead of simply outlining what the bug is, tell the story of its potential impact and win over your audience.
Another common story that many testers struggle with is the story of what they do. Explaining testing to non-testers is a difficult task. Often it would be easier for you to simply say, "We test the software before you use it to make sure it works." However, you are selling the craft short in doing that.
Telling the true story of testing and how critical it is—along with how skilled good testers really need to be—will play a part in lifting the craft beyond the common thinking that testing is "low-level" and that any testing can be undertaken by monkeys or, dare I say it, robots.
There are hints and tips all over the Internet about what the key elements of telling a good story are, and the best part is that you can apply these to almost any story telling context. Whether it is reporting a bug during testing or writing a business case for investing in automation or tools, the elements are the same: Capture the audience, and then sell, sell, sell.
Finally, for a great primer on effective story telling, check out the following video.