Ajay Balamurugadas gave a presentation on Weekend Testing at the EuroSTAR conference. As I was personally involved over the past year, I was glad to hear finally something about it in a larger context.
Ajay Balamurugadas started with a brief introduction. Ajay said that Weekend Testing is testing on the weekend. It is an initiative started by four passionate software testers to improve their testing skills by practicing software testing. They didn’t have an office where they could practice software testing in their daily jobs. Forced by test managers they didn’t have the freedom to test. Weekend Testing is on the weekends because that’s the only time they got besides their daily jobs. They took a website, defined a mission to find bugs, and found out afterwards that everyone was up to another topic of the application and found different bugs in it.
The mission and the vision of weekend testing is to advance the profession of software testing. A session follows the process of registration, facilitation, the testing session, and a discussion afterwards. After signing up, an online chat is used to provide a test mission. One hour of testing is then followed by this. It is a time boxed session of testing, where testers have the freedom to do whatever helps them, rather than being told what to do by a test manager. During the discussion or debrief testers exchange what they did, and what they learned. They exchange thoughts and approaches in this vital part of the sessions.
Ajay presented a slide of products tested, and stated that they don’t fit on one single slide. So far there have been 100 sessions with more than 2000 members. There are currently chapters in Asia, Europe, Australia and America as well. The skills the sessions focused on are observation, note-taking, learning, clearing traps, questioning, bug hunting, bug investigation, modeling, automation, and bug advocacy. There have been more than 10 guest facilitators. Weekend testing is open for everyone, and every session shares their chat transcript as well their bug reports on a public repository and website. Ajay showed a slide of all the people involved in the different chapters, having added the American chapter just last week.
Ajay mentioned some of the problems that Weekend Testing faced. Sometimes there had been poor response from testers during long weekends. Testers might also abandon tough testing sessions and drop out. Busy schedules and timezone differences add to the problems there. Bugs in the software used for collaboration as well as World Cup competitions make sessions awkward at times. Power cuts in India also may end in testers massively dropping out of sessions.
Ajay explained that the session that Jon Bach facilitated attracted to many people that they run into trouble with signing-up. On the benefits for the software community, Ajay mentioned the tester community. More testers interactions, and testing clubs have been found. Practice and self-critique and -reflection help testers improve their skills. Weekend Testing provides independent and community based skill development. For the programmer community Weekend Testing has helped to improve Open Source products by testing them collaboratively on the weekend.
On the achievements Ajay mentioned several articles in online magazines, and presentations on several testing conferences. He mentioned quotes from Michael Bolton, James Bach, and Anne-Marie Charrett honoring their efforts.
On what the Weekend Testers have learned, Ajay said that it’s safer to fail fast. Appreciating diversity is another thing that a weekend testing session brought to attendees. We can uncover hidden talents in such a session, and become aware of traps for our software testing activities. We gain varies experience based on the diverse participants, and missions. If you want to initiate a chapter on your own, contact the Weekend Testers website. There will be guidance on initiating a chapter on your own. For the future Ajay plans to spread Weekend Testing even further maybe to Africa, South America, all over the world.
Ajay concluded with a final slide on the initiators of Weekend Testing, namely Parimala Shankariah, Sharath Byregowda, Manoj Nair, Ajay Balamurugadas, and Shanthosh Tuppad.