Let’s TestLab concepts Martin Jansson

On 7-9 May the Let’s Test Conference will take place. During the day there will be lots of interesting tutorials, keynotes and sessions. During the evening the events will continue. One of these activities is the Testlab, that we call Let’s TestLab. Initially I misunderstood Henrik Emilsson when we started to organise the lab. I thought the evening event was the testlab. At the time I did not consider anything wrong with having 150 people or more in the testlab. As I saw the evening event program I considered how could I compete with such a fine setup of activities. Well, this is a conference with many context-driven people. We will have different interests, expectations and focus area. So instead of admiting defeat, I considered what elements that we could add to the testlab to bring a great crowd, but perhaps not all of them.

Here is the line up of events in the testlab:

  • Collaborative test planning
  • Group Test Experiment
  • Test Competition
  • Making a compelling status report

Collaborative test planning

We will create possible charters, missions for the coming testing in the lab so that those who wish can practise different testing techniques. Everyone is invited to share his or her idea on how to plan testing in through collaboration.

Part of the line up in this event is:

  • Rikard Edgren
  • Christin Wiedemann

Group Test Experiment

The context of the testlab will be single testers or groups of testers going in and out of the testlab in different time intervals. Each tester will be unique in the sense that they bring different level of experience, skills and approaches to testing. Based on this, we will start experimenting with group testing. I think we have limited ourselves too long with the setup of pair testing. Going back to the early recommendations and experiences from Brian Marick, James Bach, Cem Kaner, Jonathan Kohl and many others, the setup is nearly the same. With new tools and techniques appearing over the years, some assumptions could be questioned.

Let us assume that there are different aspects and combinations of group testing that serves different purposes, we can say that there are different dimensions that could be explored.

Here are a few dimensions that we will experimented with:

  • How many testers (2 or more)
  • What role you play as a tester
  • User types, User Scenarios or storytelling
  • Mission of group test
  • Note taking techniques
  • Partner combination
  • Lateral thinking aspects
  • Personality types
  • Debriefing techniques
  • Accountability
  • Focus areas or Characteristic focus
  • Test Environment
  • Basic Configuration Matrix
  • … and new ones that we find along the way

We will explore and experiment with different tools that we use when group testing and share experience on what works in what context. We also experiment with a few pre-defined group test setups such as:

  • Cinema testing
  • 15-min test run
  • Coaching a group of testers
  • Wolf pack concept
  • Testing Dojo

Part of the line up in the test lab is:

  • Ann-Marie Charrett
  • Markus Gärtner and Meke Mertsch
  • Johan Åtting

Test Competition

Can you really compete in testing? Can you compete between two or more teams?  Can you really estimate the value of one piece of information against another? Well, it depends.

I have been an Ultimate Frisbee player for 34 years. I’ve not played for some time, but once a frisbee fan, always a fan. I think the same goes for testing. There are many things that I feel is similar. Craftmanship/sportmanship and passion is major part. Here is one description I like:

Ultimate has traditionally relied upon a spirit of sportsmanship which places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of the bond of mutual respect between players, adherence to the agreed upon rules of the game, or the basic joy of play. Protection of these vital elements serves to eliminate adverse conduct from the Ultimate field. Such actions as taunting of opposing players, dangerous aggression, intentional fouling, or other “win-at-all-costs” behavior are contrary to the spirit of the game and must be avoided by all players.

One important element in Ultimate Frisbee is the spirit of the game, which you can see more in detail here [1]. Passion and humility as a tester are important traits, the spirit of the game concept might help us here.

So, my idea for a tester competition will be based on some of these ideas. Two teams compete against each other in form of best bugs and session notes. The two teams go through the opposite teams material and conclude who they think should be the winner with a good reason why.

Make a compelling status report

As the last event in the testlab we want to investigate how we can make a compelling status report for our stakeholders. Having many different testers, session notes spread all over, half-finished bug reports and test ideas half-finished… can we create something that is still valuable to someone? I guess this is a common situation at any lab at any company, still we will dig deep into how to go about this.

Part of the line up in the test lab is:

  •  Ben Kelly


[1] Ultimate Frisbee Rules –  http://www.cs.rochester.edu/u/ferguson/ultimate/ultimate-simple.html

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