I was somewhat surprised to find Story at the heart of some release decisions being made this week. Coming from more of an engineering background, I found it strange to be having a conversation with stakeholders about the different stories that could be told based on what features we were, or weren’t able to include within a particular release.
As you might imagine, a particularly signficant stakeholder in this conversation was our head of marketing. Based on a discussion I had earlier in the week with one of my colleagues in the software testing world, marketing isn’t a discipline that everyone understands or has much time for. But over the last few years, it’s something that has held a lot of interest for me. And it comes down to the same thing. The notion of story. Being able to tell a compelling narrative about a product, service, and even oneself.
Of course, that story needs to have substance. Which is to say, if the thing you’re telling a story about is incongruent in some way with the story being told, you’re going to come a cropper. But if you can create a great product or service, and find a story that really captivates peoples attention and that hopefully they want to share too, you’re tapping into something quite powerful.
I’m in danger of coming across a bit Seth Godin, so I’ll stop soon. But, as stories have become much more commonplace in software development, and since those stories should ideally be based on a solid understanding of who the customer/user is and their problems, desires and needs (in effect the story they would want to be telling themselves about how they successfully dealt with <issue>), I suspect this is a theme I’m going to return to often.
- As a side note, one of the things Yuval Noah Harari points out in his book Sapiens (probably the main takeaway) is that as a species, Homo Sapiens are not very good at distinguishing between what is a story, and what is not. That, over time, evolutionary pressures have caused this inability to become a favoured quality in humans. He talks about this a little bit in his podcast with Russell Brand here. Recommended listening.
- I attended the Inaugural Assurance Leadsership Forum North on Tuesday, participating in discussions on whether tools will replace testers (Dorothy Graham) and helping discuss the question of whether test data management should be a discipline in its own right (Richard Simms). Interesting topics, discussion and people. Thanks Roq and Paul Gerrard for organising and hosting.
- On the TestRail side, we did our first “How it Works” webinar which, if I say so myself, was a rousing success. More are in the pipeline. Stay tuned for more details.
- In the meantime, we have a BDD focused webinar with Jeff Langr coming up on the 12th April. Go signup here if you’re interested.
- I’m reading The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks. It’s a bit of a distraction from the book I should be reading, The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman. But, what ya gonna do. It’s so good!
- When I have time, I’m re-watching The Wire. Did you know it’s been 10yrs already?