Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Layers of Testing abstractly applied to the assembly of a Chair

We recently held a community session where we completed a little exercise to get people to think about the different layers of testing, and the different types of testing in the hope that it would get their brains thinking and applying it to real life scenarios in their project and team work.

The exercise was one we had done before many years ago, but seeing as we had new starters, and not many people left from all those years ago, I felt it would be appropriate and useful to do it again. It was to take a set of instructions for the assembly of a chair and look at the different types of tests that we could apply to it to ensure it worked as expected.

The instructions were these:

It was a pairing exercise, to carry on the theme from previous sessions, and to get people collaboratively working together with people they might not normally work with, and I gave them the instructions and told them how would they test it, what types of tests would they perform and where.

I was expecting the normal things like:

- Unit Tests to check the number of pieces are correct
- Integration Tests to check that parts fitted together and worked in isolation as they should
- Acceptance Tests can the chair be sat on, does it recline appropriately etc.
- Exploratory Testing
- Performance Tests how much weight can it handle? how many times can it be sat on etc.

And maybe some others as well... However what I didn't expect was (and what came out of it):

Static Testing

People were arguing that we need more requirements? The requirements we do have aren't testable, who is the end user? What is the objective of the chair? Then there were some more outlandish suggestions, like we don't know if the chair can fly or not? 

Persona Based Testing

Without knowing the end user, different people will use the chair differently, some people will just sit in it and not move about with it, some people will want to spin round and round in it (myself being one of them). 

Security Testing

Wait... what??? Yes, we even had people talking about security testing. The question was asked, how easy is it to steal? Can it be distinguished easily from other chairs of its kind? I was kind of taken aback by this, but I thought it was an excellent approach, and one that I hadn't even thought of.

Accessibility Testing

Can everyone use the chair who it is intended for? People may be too short, they may be too light to push the recliner back. Either way, it's an important part of testing.

We also had people trying to use a mnemonic for quality heuristics and using the The Little Black Book On Test Design which I thought was pretty cool! This then got shared out after the session to share knowledge and get people talking.

As well as everything that I was expecting...

I was very pleased with the answers and how it came together. As I have said numerous times, I think it's important to have sessions like this to bring the testing team together and share ideas and get to know one another.

All in all it was another successful session (I think), and one that people enjoyed and got involved with. It's definitely a useful exercise, and one that can throw out a number of surprises, and shows that testers are people, we all think differently and can bring unique viewpoints and perceptions to projects. It would be interesting to do the same exercise with a team of developers and see how the answers differed from the testers!


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