Last Friday was TestBash Manchester and I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly.
The talks are inspiring, the organisation is impeccable, facilitators are the friendliest people ever and then there’s the people that attend:
All these speakers, listeners, organizers, attendants,… make you feel right at home.
They are what make every edition of Test Bash legendary.
This time, I got the privilege of meeting a whole ton of them while handing out a new card game Rosie and me put together.
Test Sphere: The tool
Test Sphere is an idea that has been worked on for two years, has seen 5 different implementations and eventually came alive as a 100-card card deck.
A hundred cards, each featuring one keyword that has something to do with testing.
This keyword is further explained with:
- A category:
- Quality aspects
- A slogan
- Three examples of how this keyword could impact your testing
That’s it! One hundred cards full of test-vocabulary and inspiration.
Can you already imagine how you could use that?
Test Sphere: The Ice Breaker
Step 1: Spot a lone tester
Step 2: Walk up to them and draw a random Test Sphere Card i.e. “Equivalence Partitioning”
Step 3: Ask: “How has “Equivalence Partitioning” affected your testing? Do you have a story or experience to share about that?
What follows is that person thinking a few seconds and eventually give you an interesting story that is the beginning what possibly is a good discussion on that keyword.
Another thing that could happen is the person not understanding what you mean. This gives you the opportunity to practice explaining your testing.
Either way, you’ll have started a discussion where you can coach, teach and learn at the same time.
Additionally: Just keep the cards on your desk at work. Developers, Business people, Managers who come to your desk will say “Ooh, shiny colours! What’s that?”.
Before you know it, you’re teaching your coworkers a thing or two about testing.
Test Sphere: The Game
Step 1: Find a group of 4 to 8 persons
Step 2: Divide the deck by category (20 cards each)
Step 3: Depending on the experience of the group: reveal one or more cards
Step 4: As soon as one person can think of a story that features all revealed cards he or she knocks on the table
Step 5: Tell the story
Step 6: This person takes the revealed cards as full points
Step 7: Other people can also tell their stories to get unrevealed cards for half points.
The person that gets X points first or most points by X time wins.
Easy right? You’ve just gotten a whole group of people thinking deeply about their previous testing experiences and put those experiences to verse.
Additionally: After or even during the game identify opportunities for coaching and helping the others. Point them to resources or people who might help them get more insight.
Test Sphere: The Unblocker
So you find yourself bored, blocked, sad or stuck?
The best thing you can do at those times is learn something new.
Draw a random card.
Can this idea infuse your testing in a new way?
- Have you tried the “too many” heuristic?
- Have you tested the “Accessibility” Quality Aspect?
- Could you try doing some “Pair Testing” Techniques?
- Try exploring your product by applying “force” in creative ways.
- How would an “Irritated” or “Angry” user use your application?
Additionally: If you don’t know the word on the card, or feel you don’t know if well enough: try to find more opportunities of learning about the concept!
Test Sphere: Unlimited Possibilities
Job interviews, Brainstorming, Lean Coffee, Analysis tooling, Visual connecting concepts together, Exploring opportunities for personal growth, Storytelling without using keywords, Generating random Test Persona, Re-categorizing the whole thing and connecting the words using different logic,…
Test Sphere has been deliberately kept free from rules. I believe testers are creative enough to find use cases on their own and decide for themselves which ones are valuable and which are not.
The only constant is learning from stories and experiences. From your own and from those around you.
We’re not quite ready for mass distribution. We’re still feeling out the market.
However, there will be an option to pre-order one or more decks in the future.
Be sure to hear about it at: @TestSphere