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!


Phil said...

excellent news - and the time difference isn't too bad so I might get to join in

Parimala Shankaraiah said...

Hi Michael,
I am glad that this is working out! We had many people asking us "Why not Americas yet?" and we did not know what to answer. But, the good thing was many people used to make it to the Europe chapter which was encouraging.

Welcome to the Weekend Testing Group. You'll get all the support you need, not just from "Home Base - Bangalore", but from Weekend Testers all over the world!

Parimala Shankaraiah

Unknown said...

Good news, you must be bored and don't have enough on your plate already ;-)

One first target that springs to mind is the Google challenge:

Let me know if you need any help when you start, if possible at all I'll lend a hand.


Lynn McKee said...


This is exciting! I am glad to help make this happen.


Justin Hunter said...

Well done, Michael!

I was wondering when someone would take the plunge.


Anonymous said...

This is superb news. The whole world, testing at the weekends.

Good luck with it all.


Marlena said...

Yay!! I'm glad to see that there will be an option for people in American timezones.

I'm interested to see which topics you guys take on. (Probably so I can steal one or two ;o)

Shepp67 said...

Bring the Weekend testers to the Boston area, please!

Michael Larsen said...

Thank you everyone for the positive comments. Here's an update.

The first session, barring anything unusual, should be happening this coming Saturday, 1/13/2010, starting at 3:00 PM EST. We're still working out the details, but we should be able to hit that date.

Now, of course, the question is... "will you" :)?