The Deliberate Tester – Chapter 6: The Presentation

Back in 2011, I approached Rob Lambert at the Software Testing Club on a small series, packed into a narrative format as I wanted to try that out. Rob decided to run that series on the Software Testing Club back then, and I had some fun writing it. Skip forward 11 years, and the Software Testing Club no longer exists, it’s been a while since I have been in touch with Rob, yet I figured, let’s see how this series aged over the years. As a sort of throwback Friday for myself, I will publish the entries on a weekly basis, and read along with you. I think I ended up with eight chapters in the end and might add a reflection overall at the end. Today, April and Peter will present their challenge. In case you want to catch up with the previous parts, I published these ones earlier:

The Deliberate Tester

Chapter 6: The Presentation

As the challenge approaches the end of the allotted timeframe, April and Peter get together to prepare a presentation on their course. Both know that they are asked to present their progress to the whole team. Since they admire most of the other team members, the perceived pressure for this presentation is quite huge.
 “April, do you have an idea what we’re going to present?”
 “I thought to show the login function, and have an exploratory demonstration with it.”
 “This sounds good, but what about the things we learned over the course of the past two weeks?”
 “You mean, how we paired up between programming and test? You’re right, this was the best approach to implement this screen.”
 “So, let’s brainstorm a list of things that we might present.”
 “Communication, collaboration, and fun.”
 “This sounds like a good climax. Initially, we needed communication to get our heads together and reach a shared understanding of the login functionality. Then we collaborated together to get the screen implemented as well as the tests for it automated. And finally, we had a lot of fun doing so. I like that.”
 “Ok, let’s write them on some cards.”
 “Great idea. By then we can already get a feeling for our presentation. We may also just re‑order parts by shifting the cards around.”
 “Yes, we also use cards during design meetings.”
 “Ok, for the presentation, what do you have in mind?”
 “Well, we could tell our story, and how we got together and improved our individual courses by then.”
 “Sounds great. How about we start the tale with the first day and the initial version, that I tested?”
 “Ok. I remember when Eric and you came to my office on that day…”

Peter and April finish the presentation in a few. The outline of the presentation foresees that they present the story of their small challenges first, and then demonstrate the login functionality to the whole team.
 “Ah, I see you’re working on the presentation for tomorrow. How’s it coming along?”
 “Hi Eric, yes, we’re making good progress here. We split it into two parts. The overall course and what we learned, and the second part will be a live demonstration using Exploratory Testing.”
 “This sounds great. I’m looking forward to it.”

April and Peter are pretty nervous as they enter the meeting room on the day of the presentation. The whole team ‑ programmers, testers, as well as project managers ‑ got together in order to listen to their experiences.
 “April, Peter, you worked on a small challenge over the course of the past two weeks. Please share with us what you learned during these two weeks.”
 “We learned three basic things: communication, collaboration, and most important of all fun. Let’s take a look at each…”
 April and Peter hold their presentation with great success. When it comes to the questions and answers part, the team members have a lot of questions.
 “What have you enjoyed most about the communication?”
 “Well, initially we worked separately from each other. When we first met and got our heads together, we figured out rather quickly that we got a different understanding of the functionality.”
 “Therefore we sat together until we reached a common understanding. This helped us to a great extent during the next few days.”
 “Absolutely, April. So, a shared mental model of the application was necessary to talk about the same thing and to make good progress.”
 “Additionally, working together face‑to‑face helped in that. I don’t think we would have come up with a login mask mock‑up that early over the phone.”
 “Absolutely true. So, for our next project, we’re planning to get heads together right from the start, and to reach a common understanding of the functions early on.”
 “How did collaborating with a programmer feel? How about pair programming with a tester? Was he able to keep up with your pace?”
 “Absolutely. Peter also surprised me with some interesting ideas to unit test my code. On a side note, I think I started to love testing.”
 “The coding part was quite interesting to see. While we implemented the code, I started to think about gaps in the code, and how to approach testing the login mask with it. In addition seeing the unit tests helped me to get to know what already had been tested, thereby reducing the tests I wrote to the necessary bits. Being able to rely on tests that were already executed helped a lot.”
 “Ok, let me see the screen. Let’s see if you missed anything…”

The presentation continues with the second part, the demonstration of the final login screen. April and Peter feel pretty proud as no one from the audience achieves to find any problems with the screen at all. The next week both get called into Eric’s office.
 “April, Peter, first of all, the presentation you gave last week was absolutely fascinating.”
 “Thanks, Eric. We weren’t that sure, but getting the feedback from the team was impressive to both of us.”
 “Absolutely. Some of the insights you provided eventually influenced some of the managers around. They want to start locating testers and programmers together on the next projects, and see if they validate the results you achieved.”
 “Wow, we were not aware that we delivered our message that well.”
 “You did. You did an awesome job, and I wanted to thank both of you for that in person.”

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