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Cluj Meet-Up Treasure Hunt | TeamSTAR 2017

  • 29/08/2017
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  • Posted by Ronan


As part of the TeamSTAR 2017 competition we have invited teams from all over Europe to host their own meet-ups and share in “The Magic of Testing”. You can find details of all the Meet-ups here. This is the details of the Cluj local meet-up that took place on 7th September. 


Location: Cluj-Napoca, Romania  Date: Thursday 7th September Time: 18:30 



When this year’s teamSTAR competition theme was announced we felt a bit uneasy. The first question that popped in our head was: Is there anything magical about testing? Isn’t testing about breaking the illusion, finding the tricks – is there anything magical left once you have found “all the tricks”? By the end of the event we also found our answer. Keep on reading!


After a brainstorming session and many debates we settled on the format of the meetup that we would like to organize: Treasure Hunt! Not any kind of treasure hunt, but a testing treasure hunt. With puzzles and testing challenges that teams had to solve in order to finish the competition!


We discussed on how to split the work and researched what challenges to choose and then created the materials with clues for each of them.


We didn’t want to go for a big event, so our target was to have a maximum of 20 people: 4 teams of 5 people each. The plan was to gather at the starting point where teams would be formed, get the details about the event, and their first clues and tools. One of the first “tools” from the initial packages included the map – each team received a personalized map – with different routes – and the clues for the first checkpoint.


As a theme for our map we included parts of the EuroSTAR Conference in order to show the participants how much variety this conference has to offer. So we transformed some of the well known areas from the conference into our checkpoints.


We came up with 5 checkpoints:

  • The Test Clinic – the “hunters” got there with a dice problem and they had to ask questions from our “Doctor” in order to resolve their riddle
  • The Test Lab – the challenge was a problem solving one: find out the access code of our magic box
  • The Community Huddle – the participants experienced Lean Coffee
  • Workshops – improving bug reports with RIMGEN
  • The Awards Gala – attendees had to face the final challenge and get the reward

Cluj Treasure Hunt TeamSTAR 1


Also, for keeping this year’s theme, we tried to make our treasure hunt magical: the final challenge was to crack a code made of little magical icons.

.Cluj Treasure Hunt TeamSTAR


Ok, but how do we know that this will work? Lets test it!


We launched the challenge of the treasure hunt for our colleagues at work in order to have a dry run and gather feedback. So one week before the meetup we gathered in the Central Park to start “hunting”.


Cluj Treasure Hunt TeamSTAR


It was fun and helpful! We received a lot of feedback about the challenges, the clues, and the synchronization between teams. One example was: “We could not understand the connection between the dice game and Test Clinic – give more details.” Besides the good lessons that we’ve learned from the dry run, there was this one comment that almost everyone had: “It was refreshing to be outdoors and it is so different from other testing events. It was fun!”

We were more confident now that the event would be a success.

Cluj Treasure Hunt TeamSTAR meet-up


On the Day of the Meetup

On September 7th at 18.30, we were back in Central Park. It was a bit cloudy that day, and the weather forecast gave us some reasons to be anxious – we had a backup plan in case it started to rain, fortunately it wasn’t the case.

13 people out of the 16 that enrolled showed up that day. We had a team of 2, one team of 5 and 2 teams of 3 members. We were ready to start!

Cluj Treasure Hunt TeamSTAR


After receiving their starting package, about 15 minutes later, teams started to show up at each of the checkpoints. There was a lot of excitement and curiosity in the air.


With each puzzle or challenge they solved they got new clues and made their way from checkpoint to checkpoint until they reached the “Awards Gala”. Little did they know, but that was not the end.


What the teams had to do here – besides eating cookies – was to solve the last puzzle, in a joint effort. Looking at all the things gathered along the way, they figured out that it was not possible to finish without each others help. Each team had different parts of the puzzle and they needed to put them together. And so they did!

What have they found at the end?


The award was an insight that we can all take and apply into our work: we each see different parts of the puzzle, and only by collaborating can we get the bigger picture and find proper solutions. So it was not a competition after all.


Closing thoughts

Doing a treasure hunt for the first time was a great challenge. The hardest part was to create puzzles that would be challenging enough for a treasure hunt, but solvable in 15 minutes and also the outcome to be something to learn from.

As testers, we are used to help in solving problems, not in creating them.

Fitting all in the theme, creating “magical” clues and maps was also not that easy. But the reward was in how attendees reacted and in the feedback we received (Facebook, Meetup).


Cluj Treasure Hunt TeamSTAR


During the treasure hunt, it was interesting to see how teams solved the puzzles:

– some communicated verbally while others took notes and discussed the conclusions

– some team members worked together on all the parts while others split the work between them

– different approaches were tried for the same puzzles

– people bringing knowledge from different contexts


What is magic about testing? For us the magic is in the journey you take while exploring, investigating and learning how to break the tricks behind your daily testing mysteries.


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