Monday, 29 August 2016

T7: Dig Deeper

During a recent conversation on, I asked whether anyone had cool resources or ideas that I could take to my test team meeting as an activity to keep everyone thinking. My team is mixed level, so I want activities that add XP to my juniors but without boring the seniors. (Side note: I hate junior/senior terminology, and want something better. Ideas?)

Ideas weren't forthcoming, so I thought I'd start writing some of my own. If I give this project a name, I'll be able to scope it.

T7: Tools To Train Test Teams To Think

That's really not a cool name, but it'll do for now.

First idea is Dig Deeper. This is a training exercise intended to encourage testers to think beyond "this works" and on to "this does what we want it to do".

This is derived entirely from a section of Explore It! so all credit goes to Elizabeth Hendrickson. Her story was about an installer.

Scenario: a new software installer for the next version of the software.

In Elizabeth's scenario, the tester's initially worked to a "this works" criteria, namely that it ran without error.

Works: Installer runs without error

This was shown later to be insufficient when a member of another team showed that the software wasn't actually installed.

Dig Deeper: Software is installed to correct locations, registry values appropriately set, application launches & performs some basic operations

There could be more "deep" criteria than this, but you see how this works. Take a seemingly reasonable test criteria, and refine it.

We tried this in our last team meeting. The team got the idea very quickly, and solved the 4 example problems I'd prepared. I sought feedback, and it was... middling. These were the problems:
  • It was a bit simple, so doesn't really deal with the complex problems we deal with day-to-day
  • All of the examples were based on things we have done, so it's hard to separate yourself from your domain knowledge to answer the question "properly"
  • At least one of the examples was more "what else" than "dig deeper"

Seems like this could be a good tool, and it's my use of it that needs some work!

I used a very simple slide deck which you're free to pinch: Google Drive.

Any & all feedback welcome!