Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Weekend Testing... Americas? Western Hemisphere? Coming soon?!

I knew I would be making this announcement at some point. I just wasn’t sure if I would be the one making it…

Weekend Testers is coming to the Western Hemisphere!

Hmmm, it may be a little premature to say this, but considering the people involved, I’d say it’s a good bet this will happen.

For those who have followed a few of my posts, you know that I have participated in the Weekend Testers movement in Europe a few times. It’s been a great experience, and very often, I’ve said to myself “you know, it’s a shame that we don’t have something like that here!” I mentioned it in my blog post of yesterday when I was talking about Testers accepting unique challenges, and leave it to Joe Strazerre to call me on it:

ME: There's no Weekend Testers USA yet? I wonder what that says about us testers stateside?

JOE: Perhaps it says that nobody (including you) thinks it’s worthwhile enough to spend the time and effort to create a publicly-announced Weekend Testers group themselves.

To thoroughly date myself with a old pop culture idiom… “Whoomp! There it is!”

What made this even funnier is that Lynn McKee, a colleague and friend through the Association for Software Testing, got a similar “rib push” from Michael Bolton about the idea of setting up a version of Weekend Testers for Canada. With that, I knew if this was going to happen, I’d have to throw down now or forever hold my peace. Add to that Joe Harter’s instigation, the encouragement from Weekend Testers and a push to get the ball rolling via the Weekend Testers Home Office (I’m guessing that would be Bangalore), and, well, a Western Hemisphere version of Weekend Testers looks like it's coming to the Americas (that would be North, South, Central, and hey, if Greenland wants to play, too, we’ll certainly let them :) ).

So what does this mean? What we hope it means is that we will soon have a regularly meeting chapter of Weekend Testers that will be convenient for those in the Americas to participate in. The goal of the Weekend Testers movement is to schedule their sessions so that they do not conflict with each other (some people attend all of them in a given day), and to create a safe environment for testers to practice, to learn and to try out new things. To borrow from the Weekend Testers Main site:

The Mission of Weekend Testers

A platform for software testers to collaborate, test various kinds of software, foster hope, gain peer recognition, and be of value to the community.

What happens in a typical Weekend Testing session

Testers register for the coming weekend testing session at least a day in advance, by sending an email. A facilitator for the session provides a link to the product to be tested (typically open source), creates a group chat and a mission to achieve by the end of one hour testing session. The mission could vary from finding functional issues to exploring testability to writing automated tests to investigating bug reports and so on …

At the end of one hour ( or the decided session end time ) testers start sharing their experiences, bugs, learning, challenges, questions, and so on for about an hour. The facilitator then takes a day or two to prepare an experience report and publishes on this portal for the public to view it and also sends it to the open source developers or project owners for their perusal.

2 hours in total – that’s it. Every minute – worth it.

I’m excited to be involved in the forming of this group, and look forward to when we can announce our first testing sessions. Hopefully, it will be happening soon!
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