Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Weekend Testing Americas Retrospective

On November 13th, I participated in the first Weekend Testing America. Weekend Testing is a challenge we take, getting together for a few hours to test an application.

Our application was a Dance Dance Revolution clone. First, I have a confession to make: I used to play that game on the PlayStation. And I was sort of okay. However, I was terrible at this game. I had a lot of fun! We paired up and figured out how to test together. It was certainly a target-rich environment, so the question wasn't how to find a bug. It was how to approach this application and how to do it with a remote partner. Joe Harter and I paired for this one.

He and I spent two hours together testing the application and talking about it with the other participants. Our charter was to pair and discover the application.

Things I noticed about pairing with a remote tester:
  • Use a different computer for talking than the one you're using to test.
  • Screen sharing rules.
  • Chat is a bit tough. It's harder even when you type at different speeds or in different ways (Joe was a type-a-lot-at-once guy, and I'm a frequent-short-sentences girl). When in doubt, calling each other helps.
  • Spend some time before you pair setting up sharing
Things I noticed about testing:
  • In a target-rich environment, double check your charter. It's really easy to stray.
  • Writing up bugs always takes far longer than you think it will, if you're interested in doing it properly.
The single biggest thing I noticed was the sheer diversity of view points. At one point I was sitting there saying, "That is so weird! It must be a bug!" and Joe was telling me, "Actually, I think a lot of video games are that way." Oh, really? Oops, good to know. During the post-test discussion, even more viewpoints came out. Some people spent a lot of time actually playing the game, some people were very bug focused, some people were very focused on comparative tests, and some people were simply overwhelmed.

If you at all have the ability to do one of these, please try Weekend Testing. Shaking up the routine, working with new people - it's amazing what a change in routine will do.


  1. Thanks for the writeup and thanks again for participating, Cathering, we're glad you enjoyed the session. We've learned a lot from the first two runs, and hope to make future outings run a little more smoothly (LOL!).