Sunday, 16 October 2016

Neat ideas from some recent meetups

Introduction

The last few weeks I’ve been to quite a few testing meetups and there were some notable ideas that I really loved. Plus, I like promoting that these events exist and if you haven’t been to one, find one near you and go! (or if there isn’t one, start one!).

Challenges of testability

I had no idea about this one until I saw a tweet about free tickets from Ash Winter. It was a free 1-day, 2-track conference held in Leeds on the 20th September. I thoroughly enjoyed one of the workshops by Clem Pickering and Mike Grimwood. Their workshop was on testability and it involved designing a toaster (which reminded very much of this TED talk).

What I loved about this workshop was the visual demonstration of how people could take many different interpretations from vague requirements, the assumptions we make and how asking questions on testability helps drive out these assumptions. They used James Bach’s testability heuristics as a tool to help people explore different kinds of testability and generate some great discussion and ideas in the workshop. I loved this workshop so much in its simplicity and visual impact that I’d like to have a go running it at work when I can find a good time.

Using data to drive testing

The following week was the Liverpool Tester Gathering which featured my old manager from Sony, Gaz Tynan, talking about the visual methods they use to plan and review test coverage. This was another highlight for me as again I love the visual impact. Gaz talked through how they collect data from both exploratory tests and automation checks and map it onto a game map (similar to Google Maps). As you can imagine, many games at Sony have a 3D virtual world to explore and test, so they can represent their test data as a physical map too. He then demonstrated how they can then see where they test coverage is lacking or where they may want to explore more through examples like heat maps of framerate drop or where bugs were collecting together.
Seeing this visual representation of test coverage really got me thinking about how I could achieve similar results back at work. It was really inspiring and yet more evidence for me that visual representations of ideas, problems or reporting on data are so appealing and compelling.

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