Exploration Through Example

Example-driven development, Agile testing, context-driven testing, Agile programming, Ruby, and other things of interest to Brian Marick
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Thu, 24 Jun 2004

At Agile Development Conference 2004: verbal explanations

I had a thought at a session yesterday. The agile methods depend a great deal upon the Goal Donor explaining her desires to the development team. And yet, most people are lousy at explaining themselves. They're lousy because they're not taught about:

  • how to use stories (linear narratives) to engage the listener
  • how and when to draw pictures
  • how and when to use examples
  • when to drop into showing vs. just talking
  • the importance of repeating yourself
  • "active speaking": probing to see if you're understood
  • answering the question behind the question
  • ... and so forth (what do I know? I'm a fairly good explainer, but I'm all self-taught.)

As I think about this, I find myself really annoyed. How can people not be taught this broadly useful life skill? It's not as if XP Customers are the only people who have to explain themselves. Where's a writers' workshop for verbal explainers - a forum where an explainer can make an explanation, be videotaped and audiotaped, have listeners offer both due praise and constructive criticism?

If anyone knows of anything like this, please contact me. I want to attend and bring this knowledge back into the agile world.

## Posted at 21:09 in category /adc2004 [permalink] [top]

About Brian Marick
I consult mainly on Agile software development, with a special focus on how testing fits in.

Contact me here: marick@exampler.com.




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