Using narrative to explain technical work

As a ScrumMaster one of the tasks I’ve found hardest in the past is helping my team in making a case for technical tasks, and then after they’ve done the work helping them present the results & benefits of technical work to stakeholders. I’ve also sometimes felt like there must be a more engaging way to clearly explain to people outside the team how we’re: constantly trying new things, changing the way we work, and changing the way we deploy code.

Last week I found a really interesting slide deck from Martin Fowler & Thoughtworks on the The Architecture of Morrisons OrderPad amongst the 50 odd tabs I perpetually have open, I think it’s brilliant.

I know that we’re all suffering slide deck/PowerPoint fatigue, but i think it’s because most of the ones we see are so bad at effectively telling a story. We need narrative around our work and around the great ideas and the data we want to share. This has exactly that. It tells a story that gives you a feeling of what the project and the people are like while explaining technical work clearly, in an engaging fashion.

Then on top of all that communication goodness, the lessons that are in there are pretty good too:

Orderpad Lessons

  • If you skip to slide 16 and go from there there is some great stuff about how they structured their functional testing and how they use BDD with QA/developer pairing to ensure really high quality code
  • Then slide 19 has a great example of how good testing allows for emergent design and refactoring
  • Throw in some advice on CI and how an MVP with limited release helped get feedback early and I think this might just be the best slide deck ever.

Author: Victoria Wiggins

I'm a ScrumMaster and agile enthusiast working in London.

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