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First Week Night Testing Session

This week I joined in on the Week Night Testing sessions for the first time. I was a bit apprehensive at first as I had never done anything like this before and didn’t quite know what to expect. I was expecting someone to have thrown together an application or a mock up of a screen and to “just test it”, but it was actually much more thought provoking than that.

To quickly summarise the event, Darren prepared a spec for a CRM system that is required to link to Twitter and he played the role of the product owner. It was our job to test the spec and arrange meetings with him to discuss any findings/possible improvements. We were given 1 hour in order to come up with any findings

It was quite a lot to take in at first as the spec was quite comprehensive and a few of us, including myself, tried to look at the entire thing in the allotted time but we all agreed that it was too much take in. So instead of looking at the entire thing, I focused on one section and ignored the rest. Not ideal, I know, but if I was given more time I would have looked at the entire thing. It would have taken me at least 2 hours to review the document under normal circumstances, and I would have printed it out and made notes, but none of these were available to me at the time.

One thing that stood out in the session was the use of mind maps. A number of people created mind maps to summarise the spec and to show how each piece of functionality relates to each other. I’ll admit that I was impressed with what people were coming up with and how quickly they managed to create them. I’m definitely a visual person and I found just looking at other people’s really helped me take it all in. Lisa Crispin made a particularly good mind map of the requirements that really helped.

I’ve been trying to get XMind working on my work PC to no avail as I keep getting an error with the JVM version on my PC, but I’ve been using it at home for a little while. I’m quite impressed with it so far and I hope that I can get it working at work so that I can use it to help me get my head around some things I deal with on a day-to-day basis.

I’m looking forward to reading Darren’s write up on the event as I’m sure I missed something amongst all the chatter and I’m already looking forward to the next session!

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  • http://www.bettertesting.co.uk Darren McMillan

    Hi Adam,

    You took a good approach avoiding the obvious trap of trying to feedback on everything. By focusing on a section you can provide much better feedback.

    This challenge was littered with traps, I’ll list them all when I get do my write up. Next step is doing the challenge with my team first which will happen next week.

    I’m glad you joined us and I’m really looking forward to meeting you in Nottingham at the STC meetup.



  • http://taooftest.wordpress.com/ Del Dewar

    Hi Adam,

    It was good to see you there. This was my third or fourth Weekend/Weeknight shindig, and I must say I’m enjoying them more and more. Mindmaps have become standard use for these events because they’re quick to create, very adaptable, and very easy to digest by others once shared. There are a number of collaborative mindmaps that one can use if you pair up with someone during the event. MindMeister is one, and there are plenty others.

    It was fun watching Darren play the frustrated BA, and probably would have been more effective if it were a face-to-face exercise, but then no-one can understand Darren’s heavy Glaswegian accent :) (Only kidding, Darren!)

    This session was different and interesting as it was about ‘testing requirements’ which was a nice shift from ‘go and test website/software’ type missions (although I enjoy those thoroughly too). How many of us actually test requirements at work ? (with or without thinking about it).

    A good session all round.


  • http://www.dancedwiththetester.blogspot.com Tony Bruce

    Hi Adam,

    It was a great session, Darren did brilliantly and I’m glad I was able to take part, even if I was late.

    @Del, actually, you raise a very good point, with the world getting smaller are we now facing a different kind of communication problem? Working face to face, getting examples, stories etc, all good but what if we can’t actually understand the person infront of us? It must lead to different kinds of frustration all around.