Story is Software Considerations to Good Storytelling

Story Title: 
Story is Software Considerations to Good Storytell

This episode describes PrecisionStory's innovation of leveraging lessons learned in software development to improve B2B storytelling, something we call Story is Software.

When considering creating your story to assist in enterprise selling, we believe it’s helpful to keep these four tenants in mind:

  1. Selling is Educating,
  2. Educating is Storytelling
  3. Story is Software, the primary focus of this particular recording, and
  4. The best stories are in the field

Selling is Educating

To begin, as shared in the book The Challenger Sale, CEB discovered that over a majority of the top enterprise sales people educate their customers. Therefore, the story you create that describes your product or service ultimately needs to facilitate your sales teams’ ability to be coaches for their customers on how they can better run their businesses.

Educating is Storytelling

Next, whether you think about teaching your kids a lesson or listening to some of the great political speeches, we realize from our own person experiences that storytelling really sits at the core of teaching. So why not utilize storytelling techniques to educate sales people, partners and customers?

Story is Software – Good Software Design

Third, we believe there’s much to be gained by leveraging lessons learned in software development to improve our story development.

For instance, good software development starts with a software architecture. Likewise, the resulting software is built modularly with relatively small objects that can be more easily developed, managed, updated and re-purposed.

In addition, with the popularity these days of software being delivered online, good software is deployed with agility, so it can be updated and released on a daily basis if warranted. This also means some form of release management is also implemented.

And of course, these days, good software development also needs to have an eye on how the application will run on mobile devices.

Finally, you’ll deploy your best team of developers to build the various modules outlined in the software architecture. Given different developers have different levels of expertise, you’ll assign developers to modules where their expertise is well aligned with the module’s development requirements.

Old Days of SW Development

These approaches to good software development evolved from lessons learned, such as:

  • We learned in the old days when we built large monolithic programs that these take a long time to create and are difficult to manage and support; therefore, we transitioned to building a set of smaller modules that hang together through well-defined interfaces.
  • In the old days, we also released software on set 6-12 month “release trains” which nowadays lacks the agility required to support our current online software as a service deployments, and
  • Finally, the younger generation may not even know this, but we use to release software on floppy disks and CDs, an approach that seems today as archaic at best.

Current days of story development

That said, if you look at how stories are developed today, there are parallels to be drawn, such as:

  • We build large text and slide based documents, such as 10 page whitepapers, which take a long time to create
  • We release these large documents as PDFs and PowerPoint in an age when many of us are consuming our content on mobile devices, not well suited for reading 10 page whitepapers
  • And given it takes so long to create these documents, they are often not updated and become outdated

Story is Software – Good Story Development

Therefore, we believe good story development can borrow from what has been learned over many years of developing software.

Story is Software – High Level Story Architecture

First, if you’re going to tell a relatively complicated story to describe a relatively complicated product, then it seems to make sense you’ll want to architect the story from the beginning. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a bunch of disconnected pieces of collateral.

Story is Software – Modular Design

Second, if you create your story elements as large, monolithic pieces of content, then it’s going to take a long time to create and debug, and have little re-use opportunity. Therefore, we believe each story module (or what we call a precision story) needs to be architected to be able to be recorded in 8 minutes or less.

In addition, the story architecture must also well define the interfaces between modules.

Story is Software – Agile

And by incorporating a story architecture built with small, modular Precision Stories, this offers the ability to be very agile in your storytelling as individual recordings can be re-recorded and updated as need be, separate from the other modules. This allows your story to always be kept up to date.

Story is Software – Story Release Management

This implies we also need a story release management system in place, so we can manage story updates. There are actually two types of updates to consider:

  1. Minor bug fixes where an individual story needs to be updated, and
  2. Major new releases, where the overall story needs to be updated to align with a major new release of the product or service

Story is Software – Mobile Ready

Next, given people are consuming more and more of their content on their mobile devices, story needs to be built to be optimally consumed via mobile. This means prioritizing the creation of recordings, over the creation of large text-based collateral and slide decks.

The Best Stories are in the Field

Next, we believe the best stories are in the field, where customers have their story as to why they bought your product and your sales team is continuously learning what story resonates with the customer to help educate them to ultimately buy.

Map Storytellers Expertise to Story Requirements

Therefore, you also need to map your best storytellers to create the story modules that leverage their expertise.

These storytellers may very likely come from the field, and may even be chosen because they are the people your sales team would most like to have in front of the customer answering the specific questions outlined in the Story Architecture.

And with that, this concludes what are some Story as Software considerations you might consider when thinking through your story development, ultimately creating an overall story that helps your sales team coach their customers on how better to run their businesses.

Story Architecture Built with Precision Stories

If you’re interested in how we apply story as software principles to assist our customers in their story development, I encourage you to view the next recording on how to create a Story Architecture built with Precision Stories.

Vince Vasquez, CEO Precision Story
Connect with him on LinkedIn