Masterclass: Storytelling & Narratology for Software Testers

We managed to get one more masterclass into what has been a busy year of masterclasses!

What better way to wrap up 2018 than with the very talented @marianneduijst?

The vast majority of the problems I have encountered in my career were caused by poor communications or assumptions made by at least one person. I was particularly interested in how to seek out fresh perspectives from this masterclass because it’s something I find myself doing often, being blinkered by assumptions and not changing my perspectives.

The Masterclass will be live on this area of The Dojo within the next few days.

If we didn’t get to your questions tonight or you’d like to continue the conversation, why not ask them here?

Some resources from the masterclass

There were three major advanced topics here, narratology, user stories and Harry Potter characters all explained in the context of testing. The points were all in the intersect of these topics. That was a lot to explain simply in an hour session, the speaker really gave themselves an absolute mammoth task, but did a solid job nonetheless.

Would love an open AMA on how to tell User Stories though for sure. The speaker was a lot more comfortable and confident on the Q&As and much better showed their knowledge and experience.

In summary though, this was the first time I was made to think about the who, where, when, how and why of story telling and not just the what, which is probably the main point I will take with me back into testing (with a whole other bunch of notes). I’m definitely more interested in looking into narratology as well.

Thanks again.

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Such an honour to present this last Masterclass of 2018. I want to thank everyone who listened and participated. Thank you @b.fellows for your feedback and comments too. The Q&A was a lot easier for me due to the interaction - though I hope people got value from the session itself too.

What I love about narratology is that it allows us to examine narratives and ask critical questions about purpose, audience, perspective, setting, interpretation and gaps in information. Storytelling always includes an element of interpretation. Reading is not a passive act as we often make it out to be - it is an imaginative and creative act.

As testers, communication is one of our most vital skills and techniques. Analysis of literature and narratives can translate into how we analyze software - and likewise, knowledge of how stories work help in communication and analysis. Questioning who is telling you which information, for which purpose, with which audience and goal in mind - whose information are we not hearing - who do we need to create an audience for? Explicitely seek out underrepresented voices is a skill that is required if we are to challenge dominant narratives.

Likewise, knowledge on how stories work helps in crafting your own narratives and stories: how do you market your knowledge? How do you convince others of your truth? What information do your stakeholders need to hear vs what do you want to share? Often, I find that when we have done analysis of an issue, our minds if filled with that analysis and we want to share all that led up to it - information that need not be relevant to stakeholders who focus on impact and risk. Consider who you are narrating to and what your purpose is (information, convincing, pursuading, discouraging, decision, etc.)

I can go on and on and on. If anyone has questions on the masterclass, narratology, Harry Potter examples, storytelling or how we can relate this all to testing… please contact me (or post here).

Once again: thanks to all who listened & shared.