Application of Storytelling for Effective Test Advocacy

Application of Storytelling for Effective Test Advocacy

This presentation is among the Top 27 Best Papers/Practice/Tutorials selected, out of 460+ submissions received, to be presented @STC 2012.

Presentation Abstract

Software testing is a process that often requires an interaction with diverse individuals playing differentiated roles. One of the primary goals of testing is to get the maximum number of bugs fixed. This requires an effective way of communication with various stakeholders to address these issues. Many a times, through formal communication, Testers often fail to convey the actual message to the Developers. Communication among Testers and Developers is often very formal and subtle. It’s often believed to be discordant as both of them have different perceptions towards a common point. The better the tester projects his/her viewpoint, the more likely that the issue gets a positive attention.

This paper talks about a way of conveying the testers viewpoint as a story, which provides a rich context, via construction of fictional or real-time examples. Stories relate to the emotional side of the audience, which convinces others in an effective manner. Storytelling is a verbal way of communication between testers and developers, which gives a clear image and create large impact of the situations and circumstances. In this paper we will elaborate how Storytelling gives us a chance to put the analytic part aside and think about the information in a more reflective way. It creates an abstract view of the actual problem at hand, presenting the issue through a tester’s eye, helping the developers appreciate the testers standpoint. Here we propose how a tester can use Storytelling for communicating the findings and experiences in an effective manner to all stakeholders.

About the Author

Ramana is a Senior Quality Assurance Engineer in Oracle India. He has around 4 years of experience in the field of Software Quality Assurance. Currently, he is working in the EBS Quality Assurance team in Oracle, which tests Oracle Human Capital Management suite of products.

Sai Sandhya Chengalvala has 6 years of experience in Quality Assurance. She is a Master of Computer Applications from Osmania University. Her past experience as a tester was in HSBC, for two years and subsequently Satyam computers, for three years. Sai Sandhya joined Oracle as a Senior QA Engineer last year. She works on the Labor Distribution module in HRMS.

Arumilli Anand is a QA Manager, responsible for Performance Management, Succession Management and Labor Distribution products in the Oracle EBS HCM suite. Anand has a Masters degree in Computer Applications from the University of Madras. In his career spanning 11 years, he worked as a developer and consultant for 2 years and subsequently as a tester and leader. Anand has an avid interest in Test Design and Optimization Techniques in Testing. He has been an active participant in the various QA Forums in India and abroad. His paper on Test Design won the QAI International Test Leadership award last year.


  1. Storytelling for effective Test Advocacy Ramana Tadepalli Sai Sandhya Arumilli

    Anand Oracle
  2. None
  3. …. every BUG we log is we log is a

  4. has all the key Ingredients of a Story character plot

    conflict resolution
  5. Tester

  6. Relevance of Story telling in QA context Agenda Stories in

    QA Context Implementation & Key Takeaways
  7. Need for advocacy in QA Context Is this test case

    Valid ? Why is this defect so Critical ? Do we really need this Enhancement ?
  8. Critical thinking Rational analysis Objective thinking Objective thinking prepared you

    to put emotions aside and make better decisions.
  9. however…… We buy on emotion and justify with We buy

    on emotion and justify with fact
  10. Logic Facts Data emotions memories habits

  11. Qualitative judgments need emotional connect Stories connect with us emotionally

    and provide us with context.
  12. Stories help us make high touch connections. “High touch” experiences

    tap into our emotions and our aesthetic sensibilities. --Daniel Pink
  13. a Story is imagined experience narrated with enough detail and

    feeling to cause your listeners’ imaginations to experience it as real
  14. the Types of Stories in QA of Stories in QA

  15. User Stories In the Know Stories In the Know Stories

    Customer Stories
  16. User Stories Single line, raw statement statement directly from end

  17. Mr. Test works as an ordering application tester for a

    major Telco XYZ. For placing reservation on telephone numbers, the application accepts single entry at a time.
  18. He bets on allowing an input range to make it

    more usable and save time.
  19. He takes the ‘user story’ and weaves the narration The

    number reservation portal that we have at hand accepts single number. What if the user needs to reserve bunch of numbers in a range, which is often the case ? They are entering one each time now. If we could make a provision to enter a range that would save a lot of their efforts that would save a lot of their efforts Agreed. We can take up this as a CR !
  20. In the Know Stories errors leading to errors leading to

    epic Failures
  21. XYZ is a global courier supplier is using a software

    program for maintaining shipment details Mr. Test finds an issue on printable pages, that some special characters were getting appended to te Dev team feels it least important and rejects as its not part of 'specs'
  22. Mr. Test projects the power (severity) of his character ‘bug’

    , that addition of special charterer to address printed on pag could mislead the point of provision or shipment
  23. Customer Stories Customer Customer experiences, Success stories that elucidate the

    value of QA
  24. Too many features make product unusable A Major Telco implements

    ‘port-in’ functionality In later releases, too a many add-on & enhancements were Some of them were not much used in production and the code changes caused performance issues on key fl
  25. Considering customer voices on earlier versions, Call was taken to

    trim few features in Go/No- Go
  26. perfecting the Craft the Craft

  27. The secret structure of great talks Steve Jobs 2007 iPhone

    launch Source: TEDx talk by Nancy Duarte
  28. The secret structure of great stories Contd.....

  29. Implementation Out of specs ? Check for User Stories Implicit

    meaning ? Fit into a case more Fit into a case more disastrous Usability or Performance ? Adopt customer stories
  30. Relevant to the subject. Fit the story to the point.

    Build Fit the story to the point. Match your audience’s sensibility.
  31. Be authentic Pay attention to your audience Deliver Practice Create

    an Experience
  32. Present complex ideas effectively in short time Improve bug advocacy

    skills Key Takeaways Improve bug advocacy skills Drive Out-of-box thinking Make the context and content memorable Expand the horizons of testing !!
  33. …. every BUG has the potential to One last thing

    ... has the potential to unlock the BEAUTY
  34. Thank You Thank You