It's actually not that bad right now -- I am in Palo Alto, California this week for the company face to face meeting, so 40's and 50's. (I know. I was hoping for warmer weather too, but I'm not complaining. If I were in Michigan I would be shoveling snow about now.)
Hopefully by now you know about CreditCardTuneUp.com
and my challenge to test it
, along with the preliminary results
What I haven't talked much is strategy.
There are several reasons for this. First off, it's a freebie challenge, and recognizing your strategy and writing it down is a whole lot of investment. To be honest, I didn't expect much.
Second - how is the customer? What does he expect? How much is he willing to pay for it? (Probably nothing, right? And what should he get for 'nothing'?)
All of these are tough questions, and I set things up on purpose to be vague and hand-wavy. As a result we sort of short-circutied the entire 'dance' of test estimation and strategy.
That's not a huge deal; exercises can have different benefits. I was hoping to have more people like Shmuel Gershon push back on 'requirements' and expectations, but if you wanted to focus on other parts of the exercise, that's fine too.
Then I heard from Ajay Balamurugadas
, and I was amazed.
No, really, amazed.
First he wanted to know the exact deadline for the exercise, so he could do the best job possible.
Then I heard from him again a few hours before the project closed.
Now some people might complain about the work Ajay did -- you might say, for example, that he skipped the dance and didn't know what the customer would expect. And you might be right. Yet based on what he turned in, I expect any customer would be blown away and offer him the gig.
Please allow me to tell you about it.
Ajay's Test Strategy
To develop test ideas, Ajay started with a Mind Map:
Now think about this for a moment. What a mind map does is that the complex process going on in our heads and gets it on paper. This shows the customer our thinking.
You could argue that the "right" thing is to refuse to draw such a map without customer input, but think of it a different way. If the customer doesn't know what he wants, or even much about testing, the mind map is "first stab." Like tasting the soup before you add spices, this kind of approach is a way to generate fast feedback in the absence of information. As such, it turns out that a mind map is a very boutique tester thing to do
Creating a test strategy that's cheap in order to get feedback for the next iteration? Somebody's speaking my language.
I asked Ajay what tools he used to generate the mind map, and his answer was the he used FreeMin
d (a free tool) and the PrintScreen button to put the image into a word document. (So there you go, a free tool for your monday.)
But Wait ... There's more
After the mindmap, Ajay went on to express the ideas in his mindmap in more detail. Then he used another tool free for educational/research purposes - Hexawise
, which I will talk about next time, to come up with a reasonable number of test ideas that provide good coverage of the card combinations. I will talk abut that a little bit next time, and perhaps we can get Ajay to share the original documents and some commentary on his blog
The short answer is: Ajay Balamurugadas, one of the leaders in the weekend testing movement, who presented at Eurostar this year and won the blogstar challenge
-- that guy also invested a huge amount of time and effort to win my test strategy contest.
You earned it.