3 Qualities of Great Storytellers in Software Testing
Becoming an effective and powerful storyteller in the world of software testing is more important than you may think. Sure, possessing the technical acumen and correct skill set to spot bugs, run regression tests, and use automation tools to guarantee quality are all critical to becoming a well-rounded tester.
However, by adding emotional weight and the full user experience to user stories, we can better our understanding of potential faults, more effectively share our experiences, and craft a better message that team members and users alike can get behind.
Bob Galen, an agile methodologist, practitioner, and coach, recently spoke with StickyMinds about why you don’t need to lead your testing team from the front and how the dynamics of testers have changed over time. One important aspect to a healthy testing team he points to is storytelling, which helps people in software share their experiences and better their overall understanding of different systems.
It’s not exactly simple to tell a good testing story, though. Below are three key qualities to a storyteller that testers should work on if they hope to successfully convey their message:
- Don’t copy someone else’s experiences or style: When you’re telling testing stories, make sure the stories are your own. The personal nature of it—as well as telling the story in your own unique style—will add a much more individual tone and tenor to what you’re saying. Don’t give secondhand accounts—present anecdotes that came from your time in the field.
- Practice (and a lot of it) makes perfect: Yes, this one’s obvious, but people often assume telling stories and relating different happenings in your software team to other people is easy. It isn’t. Practice how you’re going to deliver the story beforehand, and then continue telling testing stories over and over again in order to understand where to improve and how to perfect your delivery.
- Paint pictures with your words: Being able to visualize and help other people visualize will go a long way. Galen uses a strong example when explaining this point: “If you’re trying to communicate a Severity 1 bug to your senior VP of sales, you might want to describe the bug with a story. Share how the customer can experience the bug. Under what business circumstances. And then describe the impact to them. If the bug is in end of month reporting, and it’s the end of the year, then your CFO customer is exposed organizationally. It’s not just a bug; it relates to their credibility within their company.”
Put your different testing issues or successes into words and stories that people can relate to and understand. Tell good testing stories, and better quality and practices will follow.