My First Session with Weekend Testing America

I know I said that I would write about my coaching session that I had with Anne Marie Charrett, but I thought I would tell you all about the Weekend Testing of America that I was part of this past weekend (Saturday 7th January 2012). I was first made aware of Weekend Testing ( from my natural travels around the web searching for all things Software Testing.

So after reading Michael Larson’s recent blog post,  and seeing that it was at a reasonable time for me, I decided to participate.

Six pm rolled around, Skype was launched and the session started. We were given the mission, which was to test an online game called Set.  It was a game where you had to make different combinations based on several factors. Before the participants got to start the main testing, we went to a practise site to learn the rules. Even now,  I know the theory but boy was I rubbish at the game. However, I was there to test not to really play.

I should note that I had to step away for a bit as I had to put my son to bed, but I had explained this so my time away from the computer was understood. I won’t go into too much of the details as I’m sure that a full transcript will be made available.

My initial thoughts about doing the Weekend Testing was that it would be full of testers discussing and testing at a level that would make me feel like an idiot. I thought it would be:

Tester A: Have you used the FCC CUTS VIDS Heurisitic

Tester B: No, I’m using the HWMST (How would my son test – e.g. Not taking the obvious happy path test) heuristic

Me: Huh

or that they would find 10 bugs and me with the 1. Now, I’m not a bad tester but I guess it was a case of not knowing exactly what it was all about. However, I like the challenge so I accepted. What I did find was that everyone was talkative and willing to help each other out. The chat window was moving with people reporting what they were finding. It was a very friendly atmosphere. Everyone there was a tester who wanted to learn and no egos were evident.

With Michael as the facilitator, he guided as nicely throughout the session and allowed us to do our thing without pressure.

After the hour was up, we had a debrief where it was discussed. Again, I didn’t get to test that much as I was in and out of the chat room/test site but this did not matter to the conversation as all points were listened to and acknowledged.

The issues/bugs were discussed with the group and the questions put forth where to me, very insightful and made you think about what we were testing.

  • One thought that did occur to me was in this particular test, do you have to know how to play the game in order to test properly?

In summary, the experience was a good one and one that I’m keen to experience again, I believe these sessions will be good to improve my testing knowledge and skills on a variety of applications/scenarios. More importantly, it is good for improving communication – Why is it an issue? It is a good exercise in backing up your reasons. Networking is a keen aspect of these testing workshops.

Three weeks ago, I didn’t know who Ajay Balamurugadas or Michael Larson’s  where, now I do. Before, they were just names in the software testing ether and then yesterday I got a chance to interact..Very surreal, very surreal.

As I attend more of the Weekend Testing sessions, I hope to bring you more feedback.

My score for the session 7/10 (mainly because I wasn’t there for some of it but the parts I was, I enjoyed).

Other notes of interest – Ajay Balamurugadas ( is heading up a new initiative:

Pair, Learn, Present
An initiative to practice presentation skills by pairing with testers.

  • A fail safe environment to learn online presentation skills.
  • Pair with a partner, learn and present to the world.
  • An excellent opportunity to collaborate with other testers.

Contact Points:
Skype: PairLearnPresent


7 Comments Add yours

  1. Phil Kirkham says:

    Glad you enjoyed your first session – and yeah, as you found out, it’s just a bunch of friendly testers talking testing. People going off to put kids to bed or make dinner is also not unusual, not even the rock star ninja pirate testers are on it 24×7

    1. montanha says:

      That is always good to hear, I did think it would be akin to the new kid at a new school type syndrome, but advice to others is to just join up, everyone is friendly, the networking chances are huge and we’ll all make new friends.

  2. Rye says:

    Nice write-up and thanks for the link to weekend testing. I’ve been seeing some posts about it on twitter but never really got around to reading more about it.

    I hope to find some sessions/meet-up that I can join in my time zone.


  3. ranjitsh says:

    Glad you enjoyed it. My first session was via a mobile phone in a library, scanning documents, with second one it was more of a collaboration. WT is a great way to link up with peers who help eagerly and without prejudice.

  4. Steveland, I’m glad you were able to come out and participate with us, and I’m happy that your impression was both favorable and that you came away with a sense that it was a place where testers gather, share ideas, collaborate, and hone their craft. That’s what we aim for, and it sounds like we succeeded :).

    WTA sessions will be scheduled for the first Saturday of every month going forward, with the possibility of additional sessions for special circumstances if warranted. we also encourage our active participants to suggest applications and areas they would be interested to learn more about for our sessions, because if you are interested in learning more about something, it’s a good bet there’s a lot of other tester just as interested :).

    –Michael Larsen
    Facilitator, Weekend Testers Americas

    1. montanha says:

      I shall get on the case of researching some areas and applications. I will come back with a list *smile* I look forward to the next one.

  5. About your idea:
    “One thought that did occur to me was in this particular test, do you have to know how to play the game in order to test properly?”

    I believe that when you are testing how easy the game (or a website/new feature) is to learn for the user, then *not* knowing how to play the game can be an advantage.

    Thanks for sharing your experience; hope to join in on the fun one day.

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