Pro-testing Against Bad Software Quality

11Nov/106

Testing Dojo, Helsinki, Nov 11th

UPDATE Dec 9th

Unfortunately I had to reschedule the testing dojo due to a work situation. Updated infos with a link to registration below:

The next testing dojo will be organized on Wednesday, December 15th, at 18:00-21:00 (with time for sauna and free conversation afterwards) in Uoma premises, as mentioned in the original post. For more information and registration, see: Testing Dojo II.

Introductions

Last night, I participated in my first-ever testing dojo, right here in Helsinki, Finland. The event was organized by Tiina Kiuru in Reaktor premises. We had a total of 12 participants in addition to Tiina, with people's positions ranging from developers through testers to managers in a multitude of different kinds of companies. I thought this was a very promising start since the variety of the people and positions was guaranteed to also offer a wide variety of perspectives and approaches to testing. We even had some people in the dojo saying that they've never really done any kind of testing but were curious to learn more. Hear hear, congratulations to those people for participating!

Testing, testing

The purpose of the dojo was to do exploratory testing in pairs on a specific application (Pixlr Editor in this case) in a tightly time-boxed manner (5 minutes per tester). The testing was performed with one person doing the actual testing and another person writing down notes on the findings, what's been tested and what could be tested further in the future. The person performing the testing was also responsible for walking the audience through with what (s)he was testing and why. At first, people in the audience made suggestions on what to test but it was then agreed that the audience should only ask questions and not interfere otherwise unless the tester pair got stuck on something or ran out of ideas on what to test next.

We had simple, varying missions to perform like:
- open a specific picture and try to make it look like a printed target picture
- test the filters, see if they behave consistently and if they could be abused somehow
- test the history, see how many actions it will record and if the actions are recorded consistently

After each 5-minute testing session we had a short debriefing on what was tested and what did we learn which, in some cases, gave us some good ideas on what the next person could start the testing with.

Recap

At the end of the 3-hour dojo we were handed colored post-it notes to write down notes on what was bad, what was good, what did we learn and if something could be improved in the future. Personally, I was absolutely delighted to see people were so enthusiastic about the concept and it showed in the notes as well; there were a lot of good comments on what people learned and how things could be improved. The open conversation and sauna afterwards were really nice too!

This being the first time for a lot of people (myself included) performing this kind of testing exercises there was a bit of disorder in the beginning but in my opinion we got things under control pretty nicely (like forbidding the audience from interfering, which was found to be distracting by many of the participants) and I'm positive we'll do much better in the next testing dojo.

What's next?

Talking about the next time, we agreed with Tiina that I will be organizing the next testing dojo with Tiina's help, and it will be organized in Uoma premises in Punavuori (Merimiehenkatu 36D, 3rd floor to be exact). The date for the next dojo is still open, but I would expect it to be sometime mid-December or so. We'll discuss the exact details with Tiina next week and I will post an update to the blog once we've made some decisions.

Comments (6) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Nice to see such an experience report. Tina approached me after my talk at the Agile Testing Days, and we lead through a Testing Dojo at the Open Space Day. Based upon that feedback I am improving currently an article for Methods & Tools. Michael Bolton and Tina both gave me great input for this, and I hope that this idea spreads even further.

    I am amazed that a three hour session was successful. I think in the mid-term we will have to setup a webpage like codingdojo.org. Interested in more war stories. Thanks!

    • I think 3 hours was a nice duration since it left us enough time for brief introductions of the participants, a break for snacks, a short debriefing after each testing session, plus a more thorough analysis in the end.

      I’m sure we’ll be playing around with the concept some in the future, see what we can come up with. 🙂

  2. love the idea. This is so cool. How did you go about getting memebers to participate?

    • There was very little advertising about the dojo so I was very happy to see so many people there.

      Everyone was there out of interest towards testing so it really didn’t require much effort from the organizer Tiina to get everyone to participate.

      Never underestimate the power of the jungle drum 😉

  3. Nice summary of what we did. I hope Tiina will post a summary of lessons learned somewhere. I’ve been playing around with the definition of roles since, and think we should try one with more emphasis on summarizing what and why people are doing. So I have two more sessions in thinking, one for the security testing stuff and another one for broader testing-experience audience for the hope of learning more about testing. Would be possible to test some local software as well.


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