Telling Stories

New ideas and new projects really make me happy and a bit excited. The possibilities, journey, and actions are great things to brainstorm and talk about with the team and customers.  In agile contexts we present these as epics, themes and user stories, all elements of classic storytelling to try and relate a specific problem to a person and their goals. The storytelling elements go much deeper than that on agile teams and I think nearly everything we do should be in the form of a story.

  • For the team:
    • Daily stand-ups are the team members story, what trials and success they have uncovered and won or lost.
    • Demo’s are a way to tell not only how a story has gone, but a way to link those stories for that iteration together for a larger story that the stakeholders can relate. Presenting the user stories in a priority order or as just work that was done doesn’t get the users involved, these stories are way they will solve their problems and how the solutions flow or relate to one another should matter. Presenting them with a good flow from one to another helps them understand and begin to see how this will change their day/behavior/attitude. Jerry Seinfield had a great line at his Clio acceptance speech about the moment when you first hear about something and then realizing its crap when you get it.  The point here is that it is a marketing opportunity, they should be excited or at least interested enough to want what they see.  Once they get it ( soon after for an agile team ) they can begin to see if it lives up to what they saw.  If not then what went wrong, lets correct it. If we did score, what else can we do?
    • In most games, movies, and most other stories is the concept of a “Hero’s Journey”. When you think about your users as the hero’s in their own journey and the application you are creating for them as a way to help them get there is something I really enjoy.  Depending on what the problem your application is trying to solve, the users need to either use your app heavily for several hours, check in on it occasionally a few minutes at a time, or only use it when there is an issue.  Their interaction with it and their goals should drive the story process.
    • In most media situations, the characters are something you observe or inhabit. You relate to them thorough their actions and how you process that reaction. In the agile world, we are trying to help them achieve that goal, even if it’s something you see as  mundane as reporting data, or something exciting like a drone network in Africa.
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About

I like to create things, work with interesting people, and do all things agile. I have a testing background and really want to make great products that solve problems.

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