Adam Savage has a YouTube channel where he talks about the various behind-the-scenes events and production of his famous show Mythbusters. One clip that really struck me was as he is talking about the problems and story of trying to create a balloon made out of lead. During this clip he notes that this experiment was important for them because it was how they realized that they could make even the most pedantic, lackluster experiment interesting by having a good narrative, and that good narrative comes when they were truly engaged with the project. Even in retelling about the episode you can feel his passion, enthusiasm, and excitement.
This is what I think a good project management on a team using Agile needs to be like, especially when talking with the customer. We are the cheerleaders of the project to help keep everyone on board and excited to be pushing it towards completion. As Adam puts it, “…Storytelling about two dudes trying to do something that’s really hard to do and succeeding at it. And that’s a great story.” The way he states it makes you feel engaged, a part of the struggle they went through, happy for the outcome. Even as Adam talks about how not every story is a “home run” you remain engaged because of his energy in telling it. The mundane or not-so-great events in your project can still be great stories with that type of enthusiasm from both you and from the team members at the heart of it. Again from Adam, “The best stories are the ones in which the person the story is happening to is really involved.”
When talking to your customers don’t dismiss the power of anecdotal evidence (i.e. stories), and the power of storytelling. You want your customers invested in not just your project but also your team. You want them rooting for your success just as they would their favorite sport’s team. You could give a presentation of “just the facts” of the project and no one will remember it. Or you could tell the continued saga of your team’s effort on the project they are fighting for! Pull out Adam’s energy, become your team’s cheerleader, practice your storytelling, and pull in your audience’s attention.