Week Night Testing, oh yes it’s begun!

Chats become reality!

I talked a while back about my experiences at the last London Tester Gathering & how the topic of midweek testing had been discussed, mostly from Mike ScottTony Bruce.  Luckily for me they decided to follow up on that along with Sharath Byregowda who was also an attendee of that gathering & a founder of weekend testing.

So participate I did!  The 24th of November 2010 marked the first ever midweek testing session from which eleven people turned out to participate, discuss, learn & most of all enjoy testing.  I have to say it was strange for me coming home from work to continue something which I do at work :-)   It was fun though & I enjoyed it!

The mission

We tested an application called Stellarium which is a free to use open source planetarium.  It was interesting but massive!  I could get lost for weeks in there testing it.

So the mission was to learn the application for the first 15 minutes & then hunt down some functional bugs.  Sharath would then go onto ask some questions once we’d run out of time for the first part of the session.  I’ll list these below:

  • Did you enjoy the session?
  • How did you learn the application?
  • What do you feel helped you learn this application faster?
  • Did you meet the mission?
    • If yes how?
    • If not why?
  • Share the bugs you found

Being the first session I found some of these questions excellent.  Firstly he’d get a chance to grasp people’s perceptions of the session, next you’d get a chance to learn from others testing approaches, which can be invaluable in themselves.  I’m not to sure about the mission though, for me I didn’t think it was a worthwhile mission or one from which we could exploit valuable learning opportunities, which is why we’re all here; to learn.  I suggested next time around that we could focus more on a mission from which we could learn more & a smaller application to test.

It was funny too!

Comedy Moment?  Two for one in this case:

Eusebiu Blindu turned up late, and when I say late I mean we’d practically finished testing by the time he’d appeared.  Zeger Van Hese responded with a comedy gold testing mission for him!  “Welcome Eusebio. You have ten minutes to install, figure out the application and look for functional bugs. GO!” Fantastic!  I chuckled at that one :-)   So what was the two for one?  Well he also spelt his name wrong :-)

For me though that’s what was so nice about the session; it didn’t feel too serious & there was room for a joke or two.

I came away refreshed & happy that I’d taken the time out to join in on this session.  I’ll be participating in as many future midweek testing sessions as possible.  I think Sharath, Tony & Mike have did an excellent thing here, kudos to those guys!  I also made some new contacts in the testing world & thank you to those that followed me on twitter afterwards, I’m sure we’ll have many interesting chats to come.

What was the chat?

No one appears to have posted a transcript for the session yet, so I’ll link you to my own which you can view here.

Lessons to be learnt

So what could you learn from this one?  Well, have you ever had a RTFM moment?  Probably?  We all have at some point.  The first thing I did & always do when approaching something new is seek out my test basis, which in this case was the documentation.  Even better a quick start guide!  Excellent, I have a very short time constraint of 15 minutes to learn the application right?  So this is bound to help!

Now if your application doesn’t have a quick start guide at least ask the correct people why?  These things are invaluable if written correctly.  You’ll probably find if you don’t have one & suggest it with your documentation team they’ll appreciate & respect you for it.

So as it always pays to make good use of your test basis, in this case it did indeed!

  • I quickly learned how to use the application
  • It allowed me to generate a shortcut key/mouse action map to aid & speed up my testing
  • I gained a valuable insight!  More options for configuration existed in a use at your own risk configuration file :-)

I never did find time to exploit those configurations, I’m sure if I did I’d have found many a functional & non functional bug :-)

Future discussions

So what did I learn?  I wouldn’t say I learned anything new from this one; I did enjoy it & got a lot of benefit from attending.  I did however have excellent technique refreshed into my memory (thanks Zeger).  One which I think probably deserves a post of it’s own, so that’s what I’ll do, stay tuned!

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