Improvised Storytelling for the Modern Tester

Why did Little Red Riding Hood go to Grandmas house? In testing we talk a lot about asking questions, but what do we do with the information we gain from these questions, and where does it all lead. Most tests are some kind of story. From the simplest “I press the green button”-tests to more elaborate scenario tests complete with back story and characters, when we test it’s some kind of story.

Sometimes we encounter situations where the story is not quite done, or where things have changed so that Cinderellas glass shoe no longer fits. It can be changes in requirements that has not been communicated enough, it can be a quickly summoned meeting where we have to describe the testing and it’s progress to management, there can be something lacking in the requirements so you have to rely on heuristics and your own investigation of the system you are testing. This becomes more and more common as our role as testers evolve. We are more and more expected to see the complete picture and understand what is not really done yet.

As a tester, improvisation often comes in handy in testing as well as reporting your work. The problem is that improvisation is hard. Unless you are one of the lucky few who can improvise a story of the top of your head, improvising and storytelling needs practice.

In this short (1,5 hours) workshop, I will talk about storytelling and improvisation. We will also do some fun exercises, mainly picked up from the roleplaying hobby and theatre. Here the participants will get the chance to try out their own improvisation skills so they can return home armed to their teeth with fun ways to practice improvised storytelling.

The day after:
The day after, the participants might start to explore their own improvised storytelling. Maybe they gather some friends or colleagues. Hopefully they get a habit of practicing improvisation until they feel very confident about their skills. After a while they may even invent their own (and perhaps more test related) exercises for practising improvised storytelling.