The Importance of Storytelling in Software Development

Purva Mishra | July 19, 2021

Storytelling is an art. It brings out the best of the teller and the listener. For centuries storytelling has been proved to be a successful way to reach out to the masses. However, a myth about storytelling is that it is considered only as a subject of literature. Well, we are here to break this myth.

The art of telling a story belongs to every field. Be it literature or science, electronics or computers, every field has its own story, even astronomy. Likewise, every little particle has a story to tell.

There is a story in every line of code written by software developers. The user tells a story, and the software developer writes it in a computer code language. Read further to understand more about storytelling in software development.

The Art of Storytelling in Software Development

When a user comes across a problem that needs to be simplified digitally, he explains the problem to the developer or salesperson.

For example, a shopkeeper needs to digitalize his inventory; he will talk about the problems he is facing while manually managing the inventory. This manual management could be handwritten or a basic excel sheet.

Now, when he tells his issue, he says that “I need software that easily tells me about the things I have in my inventory, goods that are to be stocked and also the goods that have and do not have demand.”

When the shopkeeper elaborates his problem and tells them in a story-like manner, the concerned person understands it better. Now imagine if they would say that, “I need software to know about the goods in the inventory.” Unfortunately, this simple sentence does not convey what exactly they are looking for. As a result, the salesperson would not be able to give them appropriate solutions.

Once the story behind the work is understood, the entire team puts in the effort and comes up with perfect solutions. From coding to the visuals of the software, everything works in synchronization. Thus, the story behind the work is of great importance.

Storytelling in software development has a structure. It has a beginning, middle part, climax, end, visuals, and imagination. The only difference in the storytelling tool is that it is known as understanding the need of the user (beginning), designing the solution (middle part), CTAs and ways to reach the target audience (climax), visually appealing and adequately working software delivery (end).

The success of storytelling in software development depends on how well the developer connects with the user’s problem. Once the entire team is on the same page, emotionally and practically, they deliver the most reliable solutions.

The Process of Storytelling in Software Development

Storyteller software is a tool that listens to the thoughts and ideas of the customer, understands their audience, and then transforms them into concrete solutions. Storytelling software uses the following steps.

● Understanding the user story
● Implementation of the story
● Conclusion

Understanding the Story

As described earlier, understanding the story is learning the background of why the solution is being developed. Once the digital storytelling software is understood, the implementation of the solution becomes more apparent.

When the user tells his problem, there is always a story in it. When this story is told to the team, they give a set of solutions to the user. It is like giving them the menu to select the dish they like to be served.

Once they select the dish, it becomes an easy job to make it. But you need to ask the user why he is selecting the particular solution. Because the ‘why’ will answer almost every question that is needed to design the appropriate solution.

Implementation of the Story

The implementation of the story is the ‘show, don’t tell’ part. You need to display the solution on the screen for the user to understand. The user does not know the coding language, but he will understand that if I click this, this happens. And that understanding for the user is the implementation of the story.

We can also say that the implementation of the story is the architecture of the software. A well-built architecture will convey the story to the users. For example, when HRIS software is developed, the HR departments will know that the story behind the development was to ease out their tasks. These tasks could be anything from attendance to salary management.

Always remember, only a well-understood story can be implemented most dependably.

Conclusion

The conclusion of the story is the delivery and installation of the visual storytelling software. The user should be able to find all the answers to his problems in the best possible way. Their story that started with ‘once upon a time’ should end happily ever after’. And this is possible only when the entire team is connected emotionally and practically while working towards the solution.

The conclusion should also convey the climax of the story. The climax implies the CTAs or the final work that the software does after getting the desired data.

Only after you have reached a conclusion and the user is satisfied you will know that you have written an excellent story. This good story is the incredible software you built by gathering the plot, characters, problems, and other raw material from the user!

Benefits of Storytelling in Software Development

We know the process of storytelling in software development, but what do we gain from it? You must be thinking, can’t we listen to the demands, design a solution, and give the user what he wants? So, what is the need to understand the story behind the software?

Well, software delivered without understanding the story is merely a puzzle created. In the future, the software would not be able to answer the most important question -WHY? And that could prove that the software is a failure.

Here are some benefits of storytelling in software development.

● Straightforward Approach

Instead of beating around the bush or designing complicated solutions you will deliver the solutions in simpler steps. And this is because you have well understood the story behind creating the software.

● Understand the Big Picture

The user's story will let you understand what outcomes or expectations the user has from the software. The vision of the user and their expectations from the product can be understood only when the whole team has clarity on what and why they are working.

● Emotional Attachment

When software is developed practically and empathetically, the user also connects well with the software. People have to be given an emotion to get clicks on CTAs or use the software.

A survey was taken wherein people had to donate to a cause. As a result, two types of causes were created. One group was asked to donate food for an underdeveloped country, and the other group was asked to donate for a hungry child. The second group donated more, and many of them stated why they felt emotionally connected to the child.

Thus, the emotional connection of the team to design software is essential.

● Give Better Outcomes

Stories assure better results and excellent outcomes. They make sure that the team works best and the customers are motivated to take action. The story behind the software helps build the software in precisely the way it is asked for.

Thus, You Need to Tell a Story

Building a great story and connecting it with the user’s pain points is the best way to develop a creative solution. This helps paint a picture in the team's minds as to what is being built and why.

Storytelling in software development is essential as each software should convey an incredible story.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is storytelling in software development?

Storytelling in software development understands the story as a tool to design the software more accurately. The thoughts and requirements of the user are used as raw materials and utilized to create an efficient solution.

The story also helps in understanding the audience for whom the software is being developed.

What is the importance of storytelling in software?

Stories create better solutions and excellent outcomes. They motivate the audience to react in a certain way. They connect with the user and the audience on an emotional level. They are impactful and even let developers learn a lot.

They help create better software by keeping the team connected through the story.

What are the software storytelling tools?

Software storytelling tools are the elements that help implement the solution most productively. These are the user's point of view, emotionally connect, purpose, and the answers to the questions- what and why.

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Article | March 2, 2022

In Part I of this article, we explored some of the changes that we can expect with the rise of the metaverse, and one of the main takeaways from this was the fact that learning cultures within business organizations need to change to capitalize on what the metaverse will entail and deliver to a business organization. Businesses need to understand that the intellectual capital of their employees is a valuable business asset in an age where people are always learning new things and getting better at their jobs. The Wave of Change One of the most common problems that businesses have is how they deal with changes in their organization. When you combine the need to change the learning culture of business with what Peter Senge states in a classic book on learning organizations titled The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization(1990) a common thread emerges. 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Scenario: Upskilling Aircraft Designers Using an IntelligentAssistant In the following diagram, you have a scenario with three design engineers using an interactive display to solve a design problem. What would happen if there was only one new design engineer tasked with solving a problem in aircraft design and his and her companion was an Intelligent Design Assistant? What would the interaction look like? The following is a fictitious problem-solving session and the type of interchange you might expect to happen. The personalized intelligent digital assistant is called “Fred”. Here's an example of a possible interaction between an intelligent personal assistant and an aircraft design engineer who is given a problem to solve. The designer’s name is Matthew: Matthew: Fred, are you online to help me with the task that I have been assigned? Fred: Good morning, Matthew? How can I be of service to you today? Matthew: Fred, do you have expertise in airframe cabin design efficiencies? 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I can display how your responses affect the ongoing design dealing with your task problem and can make helpful suggestions that you might want to consider. Would you like me to set up this module so that you can use it at any time, anywhere? Matthew: Yes, Fred, please install it on my tablet for future use. Fred: Okay, Matthew. I can also include an automatic updating widget that will automatically update as I notice future needs that you should have help with. Would that be okay with you? Matthew: Wow, what would I do without you? Thanks to blockchain for making this type of global interaction possible. You hardly leave me with anything to do. Fred: Matthew, your job is to create and innovate solutions to new problems. So let’s get to it. So, as you read this, you are probably wondering when we are going to see actual metaverse technology in action. It was necessary to lay the foundation first, and the rationale was that new technologies on a collision course with each other would help define and energize the metaverse. That will be the focus of the next segment.

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