Weekend Impressions

Here are some of my impressions of the first European Weekend Testing session – in brief. The participants included a bunch of great testers: Anne-Marie Charrett, Phil Kirkham, Jeroen De Cock, Zeger Van Hese, Thomas Ponnet, Maik Nogens, and later Jassi from Mumbai joined in, too. Ajay Balamurugadas from the Weekend Testing community was kind enough to guide Anna Baik and myself through the first session.

After introducing ourselves to the others, we got our mission and started the first hour with testing activities accompanied with many questions in the group chat we set up. We delivered our test results at the end of the first hour and jumped into the discussion about our individual course. I won’t dive into too much detail here. There were two points which were striking for me.

First, domain knowledge may be both, helpful and leading to inattentional blindness. The application we were testing had something to do with picture editing. Over the course of my university years we had learned a lot about manipulating pictures. This helped myself a lot. But, as I found out in the second hour (and a half), the other participants did not all have this background. That said, I had some knowledge of the domain of image editing and could go through the functions regarding manipulation of images rather quickly, where the others struggled to do so or simply couldn’t tell if the results are fine or not. On the other hand too much domain knowledge leads to inattention to undocumented features and what they do. Since the application lacked documentation of the functions available, the others could just guess the features were ok.

The second lesson is that we jumped into testing the application too quickly. Honestly we had a great mix of different testers. No one told us to jump into the application each tester on her own. Indeed, in retrospect taking the mission and dividing it into smaller pieces which then would be tested by two testers would have given the whole activity a great mix. Everyone would have been able to concentrate on their particular area of specialty. In combination we could have found a big deal of bugs in no time with this approach. What makes me sad about this, is the fact that I too often see this when at work. Testers take their task, jump in, and report problems back. Seldom they align their work with the work of others beneath them. That said, the first thing to teach a tester should be most probably the ability to work together with a colleague. I have big hopes that this would help our profession a big deal.

So, in conclusion, I am really looking forward for the European Weekend Testing Session 2 next week. It was a great pleasure and learning opportunity in a safe environment. Thanks to everyone who gave me this great time.