Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A *WEEKDAY* Weekend Testing Americas session this Thursday (5/24/12)

Agilistry Studios is hosting "Agile Up 4 Here" this week, and as part of their project, they have asked that the Weekend Testing crew hold a special session to beat up on their application they are developing. If you would like to participate, the details are below:

What: A Weekday Weekend Testing Americas Chapter Session (No. 28)

Session Type: Exploration, Bug Hunting

Date: Thursday, May 24, 2012

Time: 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific. Check in your time zone.

To join this session, please do the following:

1. Add weekendtestersamericas to your Skype contacts if you haven't already.

2. Fifteen minutes prior to the start of the session, please message weekendtestingamericas and ask to be added to the chat session. Once we see you, we will add you to the session.

For more details, contact:  WTAmericas@gmail.com

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Two First Weekend Testing Experiences

For those of you not aware, there is a group called Weekend Testing.  It’s exactly what it sounds like, doing some testing on a weekend.  The group originated in Bangalore, India.  The original name was Bangalore Weekend Testers but eventually evolved to Weekend Testing and now has groups in Europe and the Americas.  The mission is:  A platform for software testers to collaborate, test various kinds of software, foster hope, gain peer recognition, and be of value to the community.  Sounds like Testers to me!

My reasoning for doing this is to get more involved in the Testing community at large, keep skills up, learn new things, challenge myself, and get to meet some great and dedicated Testers from all over the world.

The first Weekend Testing event I participated in was with the Americas group on Saturday, May 5th at 11:00 AM Mountain Time.  I mention the time of day because the second event I participated in (which was Weekend Testing from India) was this past weekend on May 12th, but since it was originating from India…..it was at 4:30 AM Mountain Time.  Now, I’m a morning person, but needless to say, there was a nap in my future for Saturday afternoon!

I honestly had no idea what to expect since I had never done anything like this before.  I wasn’t sure how one joined and how it all worked.   To join and get involved, you do the following:

      1. Email either group and them letting them know you would like to participate:

          2. You will get an email from them, but basically at that point, you’ll want to add either group to Skype and request to have them add you as well:
It’s really that simple to join.  They both meet once a month (but not on the same Saturday).  They will contact you to let you know when the next one is coming up and hopefully some information beforehand on what is going to be tested.  It’s helpful if you know what is going to be tested beforehand and to even think things through, because the more you can get things setup before the session, the better it will be for you. 

The morning of the event, you should bring up Skype.  People start saying hello a few minutes before the start time to each other and things get going pretty quickly.  If nothing else, it’s a great experience to do a group Skype.  It’s fascinating watching everyone asking questions, giving instructions, etc.
For the most part, it seems that what both groups do is take a function of a website and everyone tests that.  You test for about an hour either alone or in pairs or groups (seems that most do it alone because it is easier since everyone is on Skype).  

In the Americas group session, we tested more than just a function.  We were to test different versions of Wiki sites (Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikisource, Wikinews, Wikibooks, Wikiquote, Wikiversity, etc.), and do regression and exploratory testing.  Again, this was different than what they usually do, which is generally testing a particular function.  But this last Saturday in the Weekend Testing (India) group, we did do just a function.  We were to test a new function on eBay.  As someone that hasn’t been on eBay for over ten years, I must say I probably spent too much time in the beginning  just getting around the site, but I did find some bugs.

You should write-up any bugs you find along the way and at the end you can either email them to the facilitator or sometimes they have Bugzilla setup.  During the testing hour people can also ask questions, tell others what they found, and just have some general discussions.  At the end of the testing hour, everyone can ask questions, share their bugs they found, what their experience was like, if they had any challenges, etc.  The facilitator of the group takes a few days and prepares a report which they publish for all of us.  They will also send the report to the open source developers or project owners as well.

I would highly recommend for any Tester (rookie or experienced) to do this.  It’s always good to practice our craft.  Actually, it’s essential.  I must be honest and say that as a first-timer with Weekend Testing, both sessions really challenged me.  As I said previously, I’ve never done this before, which is why I really wanted to do this.  I realized that I’ve been used to having the time (even if it’s a half day) to think through what/how I was going to test something, and that was on the product I’ve been testing on for quite awhile.  This was great to go in cold and “just test”.  I don’t mind at all that I was challenged by this.  It was an eye-opening experience that I am looking forward to experiencing again next month!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mind Mapping

In my journey of always looking for more knowledge on Testing, I am taking a wonderful 5 week testing course from Ajay Balamurugadas, a very well-known Tester, trainer/coach, and author from India. If you've never heard of Ajay, get acquainted at his blog titled Enjoy Testing. Ajay is a pure teacher, a believer of passing on what he knows to others. 

We started the training this week, this merry band of a mix of experienced Testers to people just starting out.  I have to say, I've never been involved in a large Skype group discussion before.  It is fascinating watching everyone trying to ask questions and getting their ideas out there at the same time.  But the best part is watching Ajay trying to manage the craziness!  He has a gentle hand that keeps the group going and in check.

This week we're mostly focusing on mind mapping.  I've done some mind mapping before, but I'm quite fascinated in becoming more of an expert in, so the timing is perfect!  Ajay had us download FreeMind, a free mind mapping tool.  I find myself taking to mind mapping quite nicely because I am very visual.  I am known with co-workers for drawing out my "blobs" on large pieces of paper as I'm trying to figure out how something works, the flow, and how things are tied together.  So mind mapping is perfect for me. 

Ajay had us go to two websites, pdfmyurl.com and tinyurl.com.  We each had to look at the website and create a high-level mind map.  It was not only an opportunity to learn more about mind mapping but a great way to start learning to use a mind mapping tool.  In today's discussion, Ajay said something I found very valuable.  Since I can be a bit anal (but in a good way!) and very detailed, I could see myself going overboard and making my mind maps too detailed, too complicated....too much.  More is NOT always better.  Here is an example Ajay gave us.  Let’s say you have ten features to test on several browsers.  Instead of making a node for each features (on the right) with the same browser child nodes for each, you could have one node for browsers.  Everyone will have their own preference, but it’s good for me to see possibly a different way than what I would have done.
A few of the things Ajay talked about to the group this week about mind mapping is breaking down requirements, test strategy/ideas, test cases, etc.  We will be delving into these in more detail in the coming weeks.  I am definitely looking forward to the next lessons to see what Ajay has up his sleeves!  Below are my two mind maps for pdfmyurl.com and tinyurl.com.  I’m putting these out here because I will be curious to see how they evolve the more skilled I become!