Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hairballistics: An #AU4H and #WeekendTesting Introspection

We're back again at Agile Up 4 Here, and we were furiously getting things ready for presentation at what would be Weekend Testing Americas session #28. For those who didn't see my post yesterday, Agile Up 4 Here (#AU4H) is a code retreat that goes for one week. Elisabeth Hendrickson hosts it in her Agilistry Studio in Pleasanton, CA, and participants come from all over (Elisabeth and I being the most local; the other participants this time around are from the midwest, the East coast, Germany and Sweden).

The week started with a clean slate, no code and no idea what they would create. As the week progressed, the team decided to make a simple JavaScript based game called "Hairballistics". Imagine shooting a cannon, but in this case, the cannon is a cat and the ballistic in questions is a (wait for it...) hairball!
Our app, in real time.

That's what we have been up to during the week, and I got in on the action on Wednesday, going in and exploring the deployed application and features as they can available. What's more, we had a chance to work as a group and focus on the issues as a group and work them in real time up on the screen.

...and you thought *your* monitor was big!

there's been a mild sense of urgency today, since we want to make sure that we get as much wrapped up, committed and tested internally as possible before our deadline of 2:00 PM, since that's when the Weekend testing session will begin. What's going to be interesting about the "weekday" Weekend Testing session is that I'll be doing it up on the projector with the full development team looking, reacting, learning and making changes based on feedback. I think this is a first for Weekend Testing, in that an entire development team will be watching and reacting/learning in real time from  a weekend testing session (it's unique for Weekend Testing Americas, in any event).

2:00 PM came around and even with the short notice, we had about 12 participants join us and test the Hairballistics game. We had a fun session, with a lot of confusion, frustration, discovery, understanding, and feedback (lots of feedback) based on what was in the game at the time of delivery. We were able to cycle through and fix a number of the issues in real time and push two releases during the testing session. We also had a discussion at the end about the variety of testing possibilities that were available to the testers, even with a relatively simple game. We shared the github code base with the testers, and some availed themselves to the opportunity of checking out the code and seeing if they could manipulate the environment to better test certain sections.

The board below shows the issues that are/were in play during the testing session. Cards with pink tags on them are those that were either found by Weekend Testing participants or confirmed by them.

The working board. Pink tags denote issues Weekend Testing discovered or confirmed areas.

This was an interesting experience to do a Weekend Testing session with a full development team in earshot of everything, as well as having the product owner actively participating during the session. It gave me a chance to see better into the application under development, and to also help facilitate and understand the challenges the testers were facing as they worked through the product and tested various areas.
Your host for today.

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