Story Telling & Product Partnership (OOP 2013 – Day 1)

OOP 2013This week I’m attending OOP in Munich. As Open Spaces / Un-Conferences have become the norm for me it’s strange to be at “real” conference for a change. I have not been “siezed” (formal way to address in German) that often in a long time. Still, the other participants are amiable enough 🙂

Today was tutorial day. These are the two I attended:

Transport Knowledge and Values with Story Telling

Humans are hard-wired for stories – in the traditional sense, not just user stories. We remember stories much better than lists of facts. So stories suggest themselves to capture knowledge and to relay values to new employees. A story about what collaboration could look like and how it saved the day that one time is a tad more meaningful than a motivational poster with “Collaboration – It’s one of our core values!” on it.

Anne Hoffmann and Andrea Herrmann introduced the arc of suspense and phases a story usually covers:

  1. Set the scene: When? Where? Who?
  2. Introduce the problem
  3. Present the solution

To practise, we took turns in groups of 5, telling 3-sentence-stories – one sentence per person. One such story could be:

  • 1st person: On the ISS a scientist is pouring water on the plants.
  • 2nd person: As there’s no gravity, the water is floating away and the plants stay dry.
  • 3rd person: So the astronaut moves the plant pots to catch the water bubbles.

It was a fun excercise! And the story above can even be interpreted as transporting a value. Which would you guess it is?

Last tip: The stories have greater effect if the audience can identify with the hero/ine. So with a semi-fictional story adapt the main person to match characteristics of your listeners, the better for them to identify 🙂

Thank you, Anne Hoffmann and Andrea Herrmann!

The Product Partnership: Using Structured Conversations to Deliver Value

7 Product Dimensions
7 Product Dimensions

This one was a little different from what I expected. I thought it would be something akin to dialogue sheets, but it was about a conversation along the 7 dimensions of a product. You can use them like a funnel to progressively narrow your focus on what’s adding value. Unfortunately we were a bit short on time. I’d like to have explored the application some more.

Along the way Ellen Gottesdiener grazed a few modeling techniques that sounded interesting to follow-up on:

Thank you, Ellen Gottesdiener!

Published by Corinna Baldauf

Corinna Baldauf has filled every Scrum role there is and then some. Currently she spends most of her days writing and occasionally facilitating retrospectives. She's interested in lean, agile, coaching, leadership & UX. You can follow her on Twitter, subscribe to her (Retromat) newsletter and buy her books.