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Testnet Spring Event 2017

Testnet – the largest professional organization for testers in the Netherlands – hosts yearly a large number of events. This year, the Testnet Spring Event 2017 was organized on 15th May. The theme was ‘Widen your base: new skills for testers’, with a variety of workshops and presentations.

One of these workshops was ‘Storytelling for testers’ hosted by René Tuinhout and Marinus Stam. This workshop gave a short introduction to storytelling with practical examples and Do’s and Don’ts. The workshop focused on how to build up a story, and how to tell the story. How to write the story is a logical next step, but not covered in this course.

So, why Storytelling?

Storytelling in software testing is an important aspect for testers, because we do it all the time. The trick with storytelling is to make the story powerful. Telling and writing stories can be used when creating test reports. A test report is a description, explanation or justification of the status of a test project, and is set up professionally and with care to serve the clients. A report is not just a summary of facts; it is a story about the facts.

Different levels of stories for reports include:

  • Level 1: A story about the status of the product
  • Level 2: A story about how you tested
  • Level 3: A story about the value of the tests
  • Level 3+: A story about the value of your story
  • Another way to use storytelling in testing is for test automation. Within the software tool Cucumber, Gherkin is a programming language used to define use cases. These use cases are like small stories (scenarios) written in structured plain-text English. Using the steps ‘given’, ‘when’ and ‘then’, the tester creates a story that can be run by the test tool. For example:

    Given Testnet organized the Spring Event 2017
    And I attended the event
    When Participate in the workshop storytelling
    Then I learn something about storytelling
    And I can share this information

    What did we learn in this workshop?

    The workshop was intended to give an introduction to storytelling and the practical use of it. In this course, it was not important what type of story was used; whether you want to tell a fairy tale or write a testing report, the form in general is the same. The program was divided into four basic steps:

    1. The way you order the story
    2. The use of your voice
    3. The use of emotions
    4. The delivery of the story (in front of an audience)

    Every story is constructed from a set of ingredients and is ordered from beginning to end. Logically you start with the main subject(s), introduce a problem or a challenge, create a solution and eventually a wrap-up of the story. This ensures that the story is smooth and easy to understand.

    The steps about the use of your voice and emotions are specifically for the telling of the story, and not so much for writing the stories when using them in reports or in test automation.

    Finally, the delivery of the story depends on the purpose of it.

    When creating a story, there are some general Do’s and Don’ts as a guideline:

    Do’s:

  • Use everything you introduce (e.g. subjects or problems) in your story.
  • Keep the amount of problems or challenges limited to keep the story as short as needed.
  • Know what the purpose of the story is before telling or writing the story.
  • Don’ts:

  • Don’t use a ‘deus ex machina’ in the story. Deus ex machina is latin for ‘god from the machine’. The term has evolved into a plot device whereby a problem is suddenly resolved by some new event or character.
  • The workshop

    This workshop gave me a nice introduction to storytelling and information I can build from. Yes, this helps when creating a kid’s bedtime-story – but for a tester it is really helpful too.

    Sources:
    Testnet website: https://www.testnet.org/
    Testnet downloads: Storytelling for testers


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